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Polarization as a Political Business Model
Dr. Louis Perron - Political Consultant Dr. Louis Perron - Political Consultant
Sunday, March 20, 2022


Two things matter in Washington D.C.: votes and fundraising dollars.

A lot have been written about the polarization of U.S. politics, and how factors such as social media or redistricting are the reasons behind it. Here is a totally different way to look at it: polarization as a political  business model.

In the old days, one of the main reasons why people donated to a political campaign was access. Money was given to politicians with influence and the leadership PACs. The way to get money for congressmen was to support the leadership and toe the line.

As I have written before, the nature of fundraising is changing. Emotions have now become a major driving force to donate to a political campaign. The key here is to build a large base of small donors who donate repeatedly. When I say emotions, I mean that people have to be outraged, scandalized, or worried about something in order to donate.

Now guess who else is interested in emotions? The media. The politicians who are the most emotional and who cry foul the loudest get the most coverage. This is how the media and politicians work in tandem: the tv station gets more viewers, sells more ads at higher prices, while politicians get media exposure and can raise more campaign funds.

So if you want to know why there barely seems any decency left in U.S. politics, don't even think about ideology. Polarization has very little to do with ideology in the sense of true convictions. But let us take the State of the Union Address as an example: members of congress heckle the president's speech, because this will give media attention. And even the current crisis with the historic enemy of the U.S., Russia, is being politicized by some. Gone are the days where, if anything, at least patriotism was a unifying force. That's how far polarization as a business model has progressed.

Dr. Louis Perron is an internationally renowned political consultant based in Switzerland. He has won two dozen competitive election and referendum campaigns in various countries. His clients include everything from mayors up to senators, members of cabinet, presidents – and a former Miss Universe.

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