Two million donors against two dozen millionaires

Can Obama credibly promise to replace the money the DCCC would lose if Hillary’s fat cats carry out their threat to withhold contributions?

A reader offers an interesting suggestion: with big Clintonite donors virtually threatening a money boycott of the DCCC if Nancy Pelosi doesn’t stop trying to put this nomination race out of its misery, couldn’t Obama credibly promise to raise for the party from his supporters whatever amount the fat cats withhold? And couldn’t he offer a down payment on that by asking his maxed-out folks to contribute a total of $500k over the next week to the DSCC or DCCC, using the “odd number of cents” trick to show where the donations are coming from? (Or does he still have a “leadership PAC” to which his donors could contribute and which could then turn the money over to the DNC, DCCC, and DSCC?)

Obama’s demonstrated capacity to raise huge amounts of money outside the normal Fat Cat channels is one reason to think that he could be a truly transformational figure. If he can show the capacity to extend the reach of his fund-raising beyond his own campaign, that would help make the case for his candidacy.

And note how trivial these people really are in contemporary terms: among them, they’ve given $24 millon over the past ten years, or about $5 million per cycle. $5 million would be a bad week’s fundraising for the Obama campaign. The symbolism of pitting a couple of million internet donors against a couple of dozen millionaires is the right symbolism. Atrios is right to point out that since some of the superdelegates are recipients of DCCC contributions, making contributions to the DCCC depend on superdelegate behavior is perilously close to bribery.

Update Obama’s netroots friends at ActBlue are already on the case. It still might be good for the Obama campaign itself to do something.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com