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Political Spam


I don’t know if you are as popular with the political insiders as I am, but already today I have received emails from Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Debbie Wasserman Schultz. In fact, I’ve received more than a dozen emails today alone from either the Democratic Party, Democrats involved in election campaigns, or Democratic interest groups.

The Democrats aren’t the only ones who email me. I’ve also received emails today from Republicans and Libertarians, though not as many.

I am somewhat interested in getting the emails just because I’m curious about what they are saying (besides “Send Me Money’), but the Democrats are trying my patience with their huge volume of daily spam. I think it’s amusing, for example, to get an email that says I should donate because “We have to defeat the Koch brothers.” I didn’t know the Koch brothers were running for anything.

But really, how effective can these emails be when more than a dozen arrive every day. Today’s volume of political spam is not unusual for me; it’s just the day I decided to blog about it.

I have no idea where any of these parties got my email address. I assure you I did not provide it to them. Also, I have never donated any money to any political party. I have, on occasion, given money to individual candidates, but I do have a rule about candidate contributions that I’ve never violated: I only give money to candidates who I actually know in person. I’ve never given money to any candidate I’ve never met, or to any political party.

So, it’s not like they’ve found a sucker who will respond to these emails by giving them money. I’ve never done that. But I keep getting this political spam anyway. Of course, once they have your email address, it costs them nothing to send me an email along with the rest of their email list.

Randall G. Holcombe is an Associated Scholar of the Mises Institute, DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University, past President of the Public Choice Society, and past President of the Society for the Development of Austrian Economics. He received his Ph.D. in economics from Virginia Tech, and has taught at Texas A&M University and Auburn University. Dr. Holcombe is also Senior Fellow at the James Madison Institute and was a member of the Florida Governor’s Council of Economic Advisors. His books include From Liberty to Democracy: The Transformation of American Government (2002), Producing Prosperity (2013), and Political Capitalism: How Economic and Political Power Is Made and Maintained (2018). His primary areas of research are public finance and the economic analysis of public policy issues.

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