Presidential campaigns are like crack for politicos. Even during dry seasons it seems like Washingtonians just can’t get enough. The PAC “Ready for Hillary” epitomizes just that. The fundraising and campaign PAC was formed just days after Hillary Clinton left her post as Secretary of State in January. Despite the fact that Hillary has not yet expressed any intentions to run for office in 2016, the PAC has organized to such an extent you would think she had already hit the campaign trail. The website for “Ready for Hillary” is offering a slew of merchandise as well as an aggressive call for contributions to the campaign. However, with the absence of an actual candidate backing the organization, voters can’t help but question, “What do you need my money for?”
Besides just asking for money on their website, “Ready for Hillary” has launched an over the top Facebook ad campaign asking targeted individuals, mostly people who gave to the Obama and Hillary campaigns in 2008, to contribute to the cause. Considering the election is three years away, and this organization does not officially have Hillary Clinton, people are getting annoyed and taking to social media to express their disdain for the PAC’s outreached hands.
Yesterday, President of Network for Progress Jim McBride posted on his Facebook:
McBride has spent years working on campaigns, including running the Virginia Volunteer Database operations for Obama’s primary campaign in 2008 and founding Generation Obama – DC in 2007. I spoke with him today, and he expressed disbelief that the people behind “Ready for Hillary” would think that this kind of premature fundraising would work. “You can’t really measure the impact of pissing people off versus inspiring them,” McBride explained. “For example, the “I have a dream” speech was watched by a few million people, but the impact was enormous in ways you can’t measure. Hence why Obama’s “Yes We Can” was so important….and this style of [Ready for Hillary] outreach is disastrous.
Individuals who have signed up for email updates from the PAC are already receiving daily emails asking for money with subject lines such as “Um” and “This is a Mistake” in reference to individuals failure to donate. The Obama campaign made waves in both 2008 and 2012 with their unique style of colloquially emailing, a tactic that was then transferred to Organizing for America after Obama’s election. Many of the individuals involved with OFA have joined on to the “Ready for Hillary” campaign, which would explain the similar style of messaging. However the giant difference, which the communications organizers seem to not understand, is that their aggressive messaging is years premature. As Jim McBride told me, “I am not 100% against the idea of Hillary, I just don’t think the campaign style of her supporters is helpful.”
For me, the most damning piece of this puzzle is the fact that I could not get a hold of any number or email address to contact the leadership behind “Ready for Hillary.” Their website only lists a P.O. Box in McClean Virginia as any reference for where this PAC is coming from. As of now, “Ready for Hillary” is doing more harm than good, by alienating would be donors with premature and aggressive tactics, and lacking in transparency. After all this would-be supporters still can’t help but wonder, “where exactly is my money going?”