The man sends me emails pretty much every day. I usually don’t bother to read them. But this one was different.
I’d love to meet you for dinner, Friend. You and a friend could win a trip to have dinner with me at one of our fundraisers as honorary guests. All I’m asking is that you contribute $5 to be automatically entered to WIN. I want to know what YOU have to say about our campaign.
I want to hear which issues concern YOU most. I want to start working together to Make America Great Again!
For only a five dollar campaign donation I could be entered into a draw for a dinner date with Donald Trump. He would ask my opinion about his campaign, and I would get to share a meal with the next President of the United States. Or perhaps I should say potentially the next President of the United States. I must admit, I was tempted.
There are of course some issues to be considered. Trump desperately needs my help, or at least the counsel of someone like me, to get his campaign moving properly through the home stretch and give him the best shot at winning. I don’t see a Clinton victory as inevitable, but I do think smart campaigning and a stellar GOTV (get out the vote) effort is mandatory at this point – and from my vantage point I don’t see that happening. The Republicans are in disarray. It’s one thing to have an outrageous candidate, quite a different thing to have a campaign that apparently is floundering. Organization trumps candidacy any day (pun intended), and from up north it looks like the organization is in trouble.
That I would be asked for a campaign donation is an example of the mistakes being made. As I understand it, it is illegal for an American presidential candidate to accept campaign contributions from outside the country. Last time I looked, Canada was still not part of the U.S. I think we are still candidate for a wall if Trump is elected. So why am I being asked to donate?
I think under Canadian law there is no problem with me making such a donation, but I see no reason to cause added stress to the Trump campaign. But I do wonder which low-level staffer or volunteer decided fundraising from an obviously Canadian email address was a good idea.
I’ve received similar offers in the past. I think I got one from Hillary Clinton in 2008, though I can’t say for sure – if I did I deleted the email. And I do seem to remember a few offers to donate to Canada’s Liberal Party and have a chance for a meal with Justin Trudeau. Not since he became Prime Minister though; I guess he’s too busy to eat.
It’s an interesting fundraising idea, no matter who is running it. Most people will never get the chance to sit down one on one with political leaders. I have no idea how many people would make a donation to the Trump campaign in the hopes of dinner with the candidate, but I would suspect they had several thousand entries. When you consider the cost of running a national campaign, that won’t bring in much money. But the publicity possibilities are priceless.
After all, Hillary Clinton has had to do some explaining about why the majority of people who met with her when she was Secretary of State made subsequent donations to the Clinton Foundation. To say the optics are bad is an understatement – the donations weren’t in the five dollar range but the tens of thousands and more. Those people may not have been paying for access to her, but the average person would be forgiven for thinking that it looked like it. Under Canadian law that money would have to be returned, and the Foundation (and Mrs. Clinton) could face criminal charges. We have strict conflict of interest rules. I guess they do things differently in the U.S.
Dinner with Donald Trump sounds like a great idea, especially if he pays the tab (including my transportation costs). Sadly though, I doubt he’d really listen to anything I had to say. And I’ve probably heard everything he has to say already. I think I’ll pass.