The day after the election, turn on any news station and you will hear all the talking heads trying to figure out exactly how Obama ran what may have been the best presidential campaign in the history of the United States. Of course there are many reasons for the success, but as funny as it sounds, credit cards played a very important role in giving Obama the financial resources needed in order to get his message out there.
Before he even secured the Democratic nomination, the campaign has been focused on small donations. They took a huge gamble and skipped public financing, a move that hasn’t been done by a major party since the option was introduced in ’74. By utilizing the internet, the campaign gathered millions of smaller donations by the time the campaign was over. Many people wouldn’t bother the tedious process of mailing a check for a $5 or $10 donation, but when it was as simple as clicking on a Facebook ad and entering your credit card number, those small donations made more sense to do. The small donations even incorporated contests, such as the one a week before the election; where if a user donated $5 or more with their credit card, they would have the chance of winning a backstage VIP trip to Obama’s rally in Chicago on the eve of November 4th.
When all was said and done, Obama pulled in over $650,000,000 (the final numbers have not been reported yet). Of course money is not why Obama was elected, but in the cut throat world of politics, big money is needed to get your message out there and defend yourself against negative campaigning…. and that big money came from little credit card donations.