Twenty years ago, just before the Republicans’ stunning victory in the 1994 Clinton midterms, I also received a string of increasingly desperate-sounding mail — the paper kind — from the Democratic Party. Curious to see how the party was treating small donors, I contributed $10. After that, I got a series of progressively worried entreaties; by October 1994, Democratic fundraisers sounded as if they knew disaster was on the way. Turned out it was.
That was my last political contribution until this week, when, hoping to get a better look at Democrats’ small-donor technique, I finally clicked the $5 contribution box on President Obama’s email.
You’d think that would have made them happy. But no — they immediately wanted more.
First they tried to get me to increase my contribution. I declined. Then they asked that I make my contribution an automatic monthly donation. I declined. And then, when it looked like $5 was all they would get, they asked for a “tip” for the pro-Democratic fundraising group ActBlue. “We’re building an army of small dollar donors to defeat the Koch brothers and their fat checkbooks,” they said. “Your tip of 10 percent or more will help us build the next generation of our tools so the Kochs don’t have the final say.”