You can’t buy votes

You can pay for political access but unless you can pay for votes it will get you nowhere.

You see, the currency of Western democracies is votes, and to a lesser degree, popularity, and to a lesser degree again, righteousness.

Politicians stay in power, and jobs, by getting votes. They live with themselves, and maintain power, by being popular. They aim to be “right” in the choices they make to run the country.

If you pay money to politicians, which of those three things are you helping?

  1. Your money doesn’t get them votes, although it helps their marketing fund (which is a very long way from being the same thing, and politicians know that).
  2. Your money doesn’t make them popular today, as contributions help admin costs or electioneering.
  3. Your money doesn’t make their choices “right”. Any case you make to them about an issue is judged by them against votes, popularity and their existing ideology. If its runs counter to any of those, your money was wasted.

Most politicians will listen to arguments taken to them by the public and those directly affected by, or interested in, a topic.

Sometimes though, it is very hard to get time in their diary, or get past their belief that they already know what you are going to say (and so they already know if they agree or don’t agree).

In these cases money may make them a tiny bit more likely to give you an audience, but it doesn’t change your need for a convincing argument.

I’ve watched many organisations spend money on consultants and events that help them get an audience with a politicians, only to fail to convince the politician of anything.

Where money really makes a difference is the ability to hire specialist help and experience to guide lobbying efforts. Like any communication, there’s always a better way to express yourself convincingly.

You can’t buy political agreement. You can’t buy votes. But you can hire some help to make your case.

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