The next governor of Virginia will be a somebody who is most famous for being a political fundraiser. While this may be depressing for those who long for a more inspiring politics, it also makes Terry McAuliffe the most authentic politician in American politics today.
What? Terry McAuliffe? Authentic? Yes, that is what I said. Every politician in America is first and foremost a fundraiser. We want our politicians to be able to raise large amounts of money. We want them to wow us with their commercials and their online and door to door organizing. All of those things require large amounts of money.
Political parties do not go out looking for candidates with the question “Who will make a great governor?” or “Who will make a great senator?” in mind. The first and only question they have on their mind is “Can this person raise money?”
Terry McAuliffe claims to be a businessman and entrepreneur. He has been those things, but that is not why he is a well known name in American politics and the next occupant of the Governor’s mansion in Richmond. He is the former head of the Democratic National Committee(DNC) and a political fundraiser. It is his role as political fundraiser that landed him in that spot at the DNC and at the top of the ticket in Virginia.
Over the last year, many friends in Virginia have lamented about the choices they have in tomorrow’s gubernatorial election. Republican nominee Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has seemed too extreme and McAuliffe is uninspiring. Much of this has to do with the fact that McAuliffe is the Democratic nominee for Governor of Virginia not because of his backstory or his record of public service, but because of his ability to raise money.
As depressing as this might seem, it is not just McAuliffe. Are you aware of how much time during the week, a sitting member of Congress spends calling past donors and potential donors? Those campaign war chests are not the result of small online donations. They are the result of direct calls to big-time donors. These calls take up considerable amounts of time and effort. The time that politicians, including sitting office holders, spend at fancy fundraisers is only a small portion of the time that they spend raising money for their next campaign.
While other political figures have crafted a narrative as fighters against corporate greed or defenders of The Constitutions, they are mostly just fundraisers. They are all Terry McAuliffe.
At least Terry McAuliffe is just being himself.