What is more valuable to our favorite political candidates, be it President Obama, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Kennedy III, or our favorite state rep: an hour of volunteer time or an hour’s worth of wages?
This year I have opened my wallet up for Democratic candidates far more than I ever have in the past, and I just don’t like the feeling that I have to “buy in” to an election. On the other hand, working for a candidate doesn’t appeal to me. I am not flush with time as I work a lot of hours and typically get one day off per week; I want to devote my leftover energy to having a life. Also, I have never worked on a campaign and I imagine I don’t have a deep skill set to offer, so any volunteer work I would be doing would be whatever they typically give entry-level volunteers to do. That entry level stuff is important, but is it more important than my cash?
The US Department of Labor pegs Massachusetts’s average hourly wage at $20.54. So, armchair political scientists, let’s say, hypothetically, that I make the average hourly wage for Massachusetts and I present myself to various campaign managers and say “I have one to two hours per month I can give to your candidate, either through volunteering or through my pay check.” Which option are campaign managers likely to choose? And how does the answer change as we go up the food chain from local elections to the presidential race?
I have found knocking on doors to be a rewarding and educational experience. And engaging in ideological combat here on the intertubes seems to be very good practice when faced with a voter who says something looney or — gasp! — conservative.
If you haven’t had the experience of talking to voters, you should consider it.
…whether it’s time, talent, or treasure. Treasure is appreciated in any amount; time and talent in a variety of ways.