If you bet, putting money on Donald Trump to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2024 is a good idea. However, the former president has about a dozen primary challengers, and some of them are effectively offering people bribes to donate $1 to help get them on the debate stage. None will be president, but it’s an interesting strategy. They’re offering items worth more than $1 to bolster their status as presidential also-rans, trying to capitalize on a loophole in the Republican National Committee’s debate qualification rules. One requirement for the Aug. 23rd Milwaukee debate is that candidates must receive at least 40,000 unique donations of $1 or more, including 200 from at least 20 different states.
Doug Burgum is arguably the most generous. He received a surge in $1 donations when he promised $20 Visa or Mastercard gift cards. Even Democrats are contributing because anyone with basic math skills knows that's a free $19 in exchange for being on a public Federal Elections Commission campaign finance report.
Odds are, nobody will remember who the North Dakota governor is a year from now, but those getting a good deal on gift cards from him now are likely happy with their decision. Would I consider voting for Burgum? Unlikely. I live in Massachusetts. By Super Tuesday, he’ll be gone. Not to mention, Trump is the prohibitive favorite to win the nomination, so giving much thought to any of his little-known challengers is futile. At least when Trump was an underdog candidate in the primary in 2015, he had a lot of name recognition and grabbed news headlines daily. What memorable statements has Burgum made? Furthermore, when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is in the news, the media tells us that his Department of Education in Florida wants to teach kids that black Americans benefit from slavery. I’ve no idea if the reports are true, but the fact that this is even a discussion doesn’t bode well for his political prospects. If Meatball Ron, despite the immense national attention he’s received since 2020, doesn’t pose a serious threat to Trump for the nomination, then why should we take any of the other candidates seriously?
Michigan businessman Perry Johnson is another candidate employing the handout strategy. Johnson, who’s never held elected office, is giving people $10 gas cards for $1 donations. Or, people can receive t-shirts and hats with anti-Biden slogans. That’s a quick $9 profit. Like Johnson, Texas businessman Ryan Binkley is offering $1 hats. The hats he’s giving say “Believe” on them, which makes it less or more appealing than an anti-Biden hat, depending on your perspective.
This strategy won’t work. Trump was a celebrity. Biden was the former vice president. Hillary Clinton was the First Lady, a Senator and Secretary of State. Mitt Romney was a governor and presidential candidate who did well in the 2008 primary. Barack Obama was a Senator and a rising star in the Democratic Party. John McCain was a Senator, as was John Kerry. Meanwhile, Al Gore was the incumbent vice president, and Texas Gov. George Bush had the same name as his father, who also served as president.
People should capitalize on these candidates giving out cool stuff for $1. Whether or not Perry Johnson and Doug Burgum have any chance of being president, at least they offer people good deals.