It’s old news at this stage, but in the hours after the US election results came in, several news outlets reported that Fianna Fáil would look to the lessons that could be learned from Barack Obama’s campaign.
But while media reports concentrated on the glossy finish to the campaign, with it’s use of blogs, twitters and mobile phone updates, one ‘senior source’ in Fianna Fáil revealed the true lesson the party learned.
‘What we’ll be trying to adopt is a larger number of donors giving smaller amounts, rather than small numbers giving large amounts,’ the source told the Irish Independent.
This is good news.
I have no doubt that Irish political parties will do their best to use new technology to get the vote out. Equally, I have no doubt their efforts will be cringeworthy, full of bland blogs and dull press releases.
But if the parties can truly raise money from voters, and reduce their reliance on corporate donations, that can only be good for democracy.
Voters with a stake, who put their money where their mouth is, are more likely to cast a ballot.
And politicians depending on that support are likelier to respond to what voters’ concerns.