Up in New York State’s 24th congressional district, a Democratic blogger is trying an unorthodox method to get his local Democratic candidates to work harder – he’s bribing them.
Well, it’s not exactly a bribe he’s offering it. Think of it more as a carrot as a reward for a minimally acceptable performance.
In New York’s 24th district, there are three serious Democratic candidates: Michael Arcuri, Les Roberts, and Bruce Tytler. The problem is that, of these three, only Les Roberts has bothered to get a campaign web site up and running. This is worrisome to local Democrats, who wonder if Tytler and Arcuri have the energy necessary to take on incumbent Republican Sherwood Boehlert.
In response to the slowness of Arcuri and Tytler, the local Democratic blogger is prodding them – with money. He has sent a $500 donation to Les Roberts, as a reward for getting online. He has also promised $500 to Tytler and Arcuri – if they can get their campaign web sites online this week. The catch is that the donation will be reduced by $100 each additional week that it takes these campaigns to get up on the web until, a few weeks from now, there will be no donation at all.
Of course, $500 will not make or break any congressional campaign. The real power in this scheme is that it symbolizes the broader success of the campaign’s appeal. The prestige of Bruce Tytler and Mike Arcuri are on the line.
A campaign web site is one of the cheapest, easiest, yet most powerful methods of campaigning available to congressional candidates. It provides information to voters, and gives them an easy way to get involved by volunteering or donating money. Without a web site, candidates have to struggle to get their word out, and end up spending money with dramatic inefficiency.
It is sad that Democratic congressional candidates actually need to be provoked into creating web sites to represent their campaigns. On the other hand, it is reassuring that there are grassroots Democrats who are willing to pitch in to prod their prospective representatives into action.