Goldberg: Why is Peter Thiel, a GOP megadonor, buying a Maltese passport?
Hacking the 2016 presidential campaigns is difficult, but not impossible. When you attack the opposition from the inside, it takes little effort to do so, and there’s a good chance it will work.
For those who have only recently learned that the Republican establishment is an “old boy network” and will be unceremoniously ousted from power unless its members agree to a large expansion of the tax code, and are therefore willing to fund the efforts of a “socialist” who promises to “fight” it, there’s plenty to be excited about.
The new, post-Pence, Republicans seem to be united in their vision of a return to an era in which the party can advance policies that appeal to small-dollar donors, rather than being reliant on big donors. In fact, the only major Republican politician who still believes the GOP has some future is Chris Christie.
The idea is to attract small-dollar donors in particular, using a “grassroots” fundraising approach as a means of bringing in large donations. With a grassroots approach, a politician needs only attract small donations, and use the funds to pay for the operation of a small party bureaucracy, which can then do the work of campaigning.
But, while the concept seems appealing, how should an elected official best determine what’s a grassroots effort and what’s a paid campaign?
The answer, in practice, is that you can’t. A grassroots effort can be anything that is initiated by a small number of people in a small group who then bring money to the effort, but it can’t be someone collecting $5,000 to $10,000 from tens of thousands of people.
The problem is, that someone might be a single person or a couple doing thousands of dollars of work, but in either case, they might not be “working as a grassroots effort.” Instead, they may be a “grassroots effort” in the sense that they’re not doing any real grassroots work, they’re just gathering money for a person or two they work for and it’s a “grassroots effort” because the rest