Ted Cruz’s exploitative new sham: What “drafting” him to run for president really means

Why you should never, ever draft Ted Cruz -- or anyone else!

Topics: Ted Cruz, 2016 election, Republican Party, Hillary Clinton, Editor's Picks, Draft, GOP, campaign contributions,

Ted Cruz's exploitative new sham: What "drafting" him to run for president really meansSen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, stands in front of pheasants that were shot during a hunt hosted by Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. (Credit: AP/Nati Harnik)

“It is time to Draft Ted Cruz for president,” says RedState diarist “razshafer,” and to that end, Raz has established RunTedRun.com, and an affiliated Draft Ted Cruz for President PAC. Raz is, Dave Weigel explains, Ted Cruz’s (now former) regional director Raz Shafer, and not just some person using Cruz’s name to convince conservatives to send along their lucrative email addresses.

Here is part of Shafer’s pitch:

I know there are other candidates who may run as conservatives, but I believe Ted Cruz has demonstrated that he’s the only consistent conservative who will do what it takes to roll back Barack Obama’s agenda. He’s the only one who has the passion, principles, and courage needed to deliver real results for Americans.

I’ve never spoken to Ted about him running for president and I honestly don’t know if he will do it, but I do know he won’t succeed unless freedom-loving Americans like you and me begin organizing this effort now.

Ted Cruz is the people’s candidate and we need to be the ones driving the effort to elect him.

So if you’re ready to be proud of your vote again and you agree that Ted Cruz should run for president, please do three things:

Go to RunTedRun.com and sign the official Draft Ted Cruz for President petition.
Urge your friends and family to join you.
Donate whatever you can to help us spread the word and build support.

My advice, even if you do support Ted Cruz and think he should run for president, is don’t do any of this. It is a waste of your time and you will be exploited. Your name and contact information will be sold. You will have no effect whatsoever on Cruz’s decision to run for president or not. Your monetary donation will have no effect whatsoever on Ted Cruz’s potential 2016 electoral chances.

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Unless you have a lot of money, and giving that money to politicians is how you gain access to those politicians in order to convince them to advance your agenda, most of the time you shouldn’t give money to politicians. Especially credible presidential candidates and sitting members of Congress. Mainly because most presidential candidates and sitting members of Congress are awful, but also because generally they already have a lot of money, have access to more money, and don’t need yours. (Again, this all assumes you’re not very rich. The very rich waste plenty of money on losers and dumb causes, but they can afford it. Plus, many of their political investments show some pretty impressive returns.)

You really shouldn’t donate money — or give away your contact information — to shady (or even reputable!) organizations devoted to “drafting” someone or other to run for president. Especially if the person they are drafting is probably already going to run and doesn’t need some sort of pseudo-grass-roots demonstration of mass appeal and fundraising ability. Ted Cruz knows he is popular and can raise money and he probably will at least pretend to run for president, unless he decides it would be more lucrative to just be a right-wing media star, in which case you have still wasted your money.

This isn’t just about Ted Cruz! Hillary Clinton is almost definitely running for president too, and she really doesn’t need your support. She has a vast fundraising network and national campaign experience; you don’t need to sign a petition (or, god forbid, write a check) to nudge her toward deciding to run again. She has already done extensive polling on the subject of whether Americans are “ready for Hillary,” and (I can’t stress this enough) she has very rich friends who will write her much bigger checks than you will.

Sometimes, these PACs or other groups dedicated to drafting someone to run for office are truly aimed at convincing reluctant candidates that they have enough already existing support to make a presidential campaign feasible. In that case, your name and donation could make a real difference! And then you end up with Wesley Clark 2004. But for the most part, national politicians don’t need or deserve your money, and people running officially unaffiliated outside groups shouldn’t be gifted your valuable data. Don’t draft anyone.

Alex Pareene

Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at apareene@salon.com and follow him on Twitter @pareene

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