Essay by Lukas Haynes: “…Given the threat of election subversion, philanthropists who care about democracy across the political spectrum must now deploy donations as effectively as they can. In their seminal book, Money Well Spent: A Strategic Plan for Smart Philanthropy, Paul Brest and Hal Harvey argue that generating “alternative solutions” to hard problems “requires creativity or innovation akin to that of a scientist or engineer—creativity that is goal-oriented, that aims to come up with pragmatic solutions to a problem.”
In seeking the most effective solutions, Brest and Harvey do not find that nonpartisan, charitable efforts are the only legitimate form of strategic giving. Instead, they encourage donors to identify clear problem-solving goals, sound strategy, and clarity about risk tolerance.
Given the concerted attack on democratic norms by political candidates, there is no more effective alternative at hand than using political donations to defeat those candidates. If it is not already part of donors’ philanthropic toolkit to protect democracy, it needs to be and soon.
Once Big Lie-promoting candidates win and take power over elections, it will be too late to repeal their authority, especially in states where Republicans control the state legislatures. Should they successfully subvert a national presidential election in a deeply polarized nation, the United States will have crossed an undemocratic Rubicon no well-intentioned American wants to witness. So what are the most effective ways for political donors to respond to this perilous moment?…(More)”.