A Democratic National Committee “survey” mailed to potential voters asks them to share their attitudes about the domestic and foreign policy agendas of the Republican and Democratic parties. It also asks for cash.
If you have received one of these surveys-cum-fundraising-solicitations from either party as election season cranks up, don’t be surprised. And don’t be fooled. They’re not real surveys despite such authoritative trappings as a stamp on the envelope reading “offical party business.”
Using a survey to help raise money is a tactic used by all political parties and interest groups, said Mileah Kromer, director of Goucher College’s Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center.
The strategy, she added, actually has its own acronym: FRUGing — Fund-Raising Under the Guise of Research.
“It’s using a survey to engage folks to think about issues in a way that would compel them to donate money,” Kromer said. “It’s common practice.”
Leading language in the survey questions — coupled with a fundraising request — is a clear indication that you’ve been “FRUGged.” And the 10-question survey from the Democratic National Committee, led by Maryland’s own Tom Perez, certainly contains plenty of leading questions.
The most obvious one asks respondents about their attitudes toward President Donald Trump by using loaded language.
“Which aspects of the Trump presidency do you find most disturbing?” the survey asks. “Please choose four.”
It then gives 12 choices drawing from varous aspects of the Republican president’s most controversial positions.
From personal elements: “His erratic temperament and judgment; His early-morning tweets; His offensive and hateful rhetoric; His refusal to release his tax returns and eliminate conflicts of interest.”
To domestic policy: “His attacks on women; His opposition to women's reproductive freedom; His efforts to repeal Obamacare.”
To his foreign policy: “His dangerous rhetoric on North Korea; His decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord and dismissal of climate science; His reckless and dangerous foreign policy positions.”
To, of course, Russia: “His admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and refusal to recognize Russian meddling in our elections; His attempt to interfere in the investigations of Russian election meddling.”
The final choice: “I don't find the Trump presidency disturbing.”