Conditional donating

Voters on the left of the Democratic party or the right of the Republican party have a problem. Presidents have an incentive to move to the centre and neglect them. So how can they get some leverage?

Well, they could always threaten not to vote for them in the election. The problem is that most of the time this is an empty threat – no matter how much they grumble about the lesser of two evils, they end up falling into line in November. Sometimes it is not, as in 2000. That strategy worked so poorly that we won’t see it again for the next thirty years.

Take a look at this post below, via I’ll be back at the end to discuss it.


Has anyone been discussing starting to put donations for Obama’s 2012 run in escrow, to be released upon the accomplishment of certain goals—eg, on Iraq, health care, energy, etc.?

It would take a ton of effort and wrangling to set up. And I haven’t thought it through at all, particularly the various legalities involved. Just off the top of my head, I think you’d have to set up a vote on whether he’d succeeded and the money could be released. I’d also guess you’d might have to require each person to specify a second choice organization for the money to go if Obama fails, so they wouldn’t just get it back and be able send it to the campaign anyway.


What’s interesting here is the recognition that reducing your flexibility can help you, in that it lets you make a binding commitment that other people have to take into consideration, strengthening your negotiating position.  This is perhaps an advantage to PACs like the conservative Club for Growth.  I don’t know about the legalities, but I would go further than the poster – don’t have a vote, but only allow payout on something that’s unarguably verifiable.


One Response to “Conditional donating”

  1. Jake Says:

    Nice post. I wrote a commentary in my own blog.

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