A simple political giving guideline

By Steve Kirsch

In an effort to help the candidates and parties raise more money, energize the voter base, and win elections, I have adopted a prerequisite for political donations that I encourage my fellow Democrats to adopt. This is a requirement for a donation from me, but it does not guarantee a donation. The policy is this:

I no longer give any political campaign contributions to anyone running for elected office (including the Democratic party and other political committees) who can't tell me at least 3 measurable long-term goals that they will try to achieve if they are elected.

I'm not trying to push any specific agenda. Nor do the candidates need to guarantee to me or anyone else they will succeed in their goals. I only ask what they are committed to try to accomplish. My purpose is to identify commonality in long term positions already held by Democratic candidates so that common goals can be adopted by the party. 

Great goals are visionary, measurable, specific, and achievable. Great goals achieve party unity and motivation for the voter base. The last great national goal was JFK's goal to put a man on the moon and bring him back before the end of the decade. It was very specific, very measurable, very inspiring, and memorable.

I've made it super easy. In the list of 12 below:

  • Which of these goals are you committed to try to accomplish? 
  • Are there any long term goals I should add/replace?
Energy  Reduce our dependence on foreign oil by 20% from 2000 levels by the year 2020. 
Foreign policy  Get completely out of Iraq by 2010 or sooner.
Health Care  Health care coverage for every US citizen by 2010 
Environment  Reduce US greenhouse gas emissions by 20% from 2000 levels by 2020 
  Stabilize world greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 so that the concentration is no longer increasing. 
Education  Achieve a high school dropout rate of under 10% on a national basis by 2020 
Economy  Create at least 5 million new jobs between 2005 and 2010 
Environment  Obtain 20% of our national energy needs from clean, renewable sources by 2020 
Political reform  Implement public financing of candidates for Congress in 2006 
National Security  Reduce the hostility towards America by at least 20% from 2004 levels 
Economy  Balance the budget by 2010.
Taxes  Dramatically simplify the tax code by 2010. People should be spending less time doing their taxes than in 2000, not more time.
Social security  Ensure that social security is financially sound by 2010

Here are some possible goals for state candidates

-Induce automakers to sell plug-in hybrids and fuel cell vehicles by 2010.
-Create statewide feebates to encourage cleaner vehicles through a revenue neutral system of monetary incentives and disincentives.
Support statewide efforts to reduce emissions from diesel-powered heavy duty on-road and off-road vehicles by supporting alternative technologies such as CNG, fuel cells and zero-emission vehicles.

-Support goal (established through SB 656) of 20% renewable energy sources in California by 2017.
-Invest $50 m in public funds for the development of renewable technology.
-Create substantial incentives for users to reduce their consumption, with a goal of 25% reduction by 2015.

Political reform
-Implement public financing of candidates in California by 2010

Health care
-Every child in California has health insurance by ______ -Reduce the incidence of childhood asthma by 25% by 2015.

For more information, see:

Note, polling data suggests that the following are the top 10 key issues for likely voters in the swing states:

  • Economy & jobs: 26%
  • Health care & prescription drugs: 22%
  • Education: 15%
  • Social Security & Medicare: 14%
  • Federal budget deficit: 12%
  • Situation in Iraq: 12%
  • Taxes: 12%
  • Moral values: 10%
  • Fighting terrorism: 7%
  • Homeland security: 7%

Here is a list of lawmakers and a link to their top 10 goals (in the order I received them):

Rep. Zoe Lofgren (Nov 20, 2003)
Senator Russ Feingold (Dec 5, 2003)
Burt Cohen (Dec 29, 2003)
Mike Honda (Jan 14, 2004)
Rebecca Cohn (Jan 28, 2004)
(March 2004)