To your favorite politician, you are merely marketable data

I have given my last dollar to a politician. I will never again “like” a politician. I will never again click the “donate” button. Hell, I won’t even click a link to a politician’s website. I will stop following and friending politicians.

I’m just data to politicians, and they can and do sell me.

Headline from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Political fundraising campaigns manage debts by selling data

Write reporters Chris Potter and Rich Lord:

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum launched a new presidential bid in Butler County last week, hoping to recapture the grassroots support he enjoyed during his 2012 campaign. But many of those who rallied to his cause three years ago have been backing him ever since — whether they’ve known it or not.

According to campaign-finance records, in just over two years, Mr. Santorum’s 2012 election committee earned nearly $281,000 by lending out contact information for his supporters. The money was paid by “data brokers” who repackage such information for other politicians and causes.

I’m appalled but not surprised. Let’s face it: All aspects of your identity, the characteristics that make you, well, you, are commodities. Too many of our politicians have treated us, particularly those of us who vote, as a means to an end — election and re-election in pursuit and maintenance of power. Selling our data is just SOP — another financial tool for the slimey.

That just bites. It’s just fucking ironic that the people who make laws and skirt the edge of campaign finance laws (and break them repeatedly) are also the ones who could legislate to end such rampant abuse of consumer data.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

Potter and Lord again:

Democrats, including 2016 front-runner Hillary Clinton, also rent lists. A now-defunct Clinton committee garnered nearly $200,000 from list rentals in 2012; $62,782 of that was paid by President Barack Obama’s re-election effort.

Campaigns sometimes rent lists directly to allies, but frequently “they are looking for any way they can to pay off debt,” said Ryan Lake, CEO of New York-based Lake Group Media. Mr. Santorum’s 2012 election committee, for example, was nearly $450,000 in the red as of March 31.

But in a country where the secret ballot is a cultural touchstone, “People often want to keep their preferences secret,” said Darrell M. West, a Brookings Institution scholar who has studied technology and politics.

Candidates are “compiling information and treating it as a commodity. I think most people would be shocked about the level of information campaigns have on them.”

The most coveted data, campaign professionals say, includes personal contact information of campaign contributors.

Politicians? No. Zealous power-grubbing assholes? Yes.

Politics, in the time of the Greeks, was the practice and art of influencing others.

Today, just change one word: Substitute “fucking” for “influencing.”

5 replies »

  1. Interesting. I should have known this, but didn’t.

    I too wont give any more money, but for a different reason. Barack cured me of giving money to politicians by turning out to be a Republican. Learned my lesson.