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Opinion | Everybody Wants to Be Your Email Buddy

Watch out for anything that authorizes recurring donations. It’s like those robocalls trying to get you to press 1 for further information. Never press 1! Never authorize recurring donations! OK, unless you’re really in love with one particular politician, have complete confidence he or she won’t break your heart over the next 11 months, and don’t want to be bothered recommitting on a regular basis.

Not something you need to consider when it comes to Trump making sneaky attempts to get a recurring donation commitment in return for terrible thank-you gifts. “For a short time, when you make a contribution of $75, we’ll send you one of our ICONIC Trump Save America Christmas Ornaments FOR FREE,” said one email this week. Now, the ornament is not the absolute worst holiday item on Trump’s list. (Have you seen the Christmas stocking with his face on it?) But do you find it strange that he wants $75 for that “FREE” decoration?

The emailers like to toss in personal details, just to show that we’re pals. I’d gotten used to being addressed as “Friend,” but more and more seem to know my name. A recent letter to “Gail” from the Democratic National Committee explained how important it was that I be “one of 16 more supporters from Flushing to contribute $7 to ensure Democrats have the resources they need to compete and win everywhere.”

The only problem, as you may have guessed, is that I don’t live in Flushing.

Right now everybody wants to help you prepare for holiday giving. You may have gotten a gift guide from the “Official Democratic Store” that features, inevitably, a presidential “Cup o’ Joe” coffee mug, as well as a “Dogs for Democrats” collar. Sorry to say the Joe Biden ice cream scoop was already sold out.

Rafts of non-presidential candidates are mailing, too. Unlike Trump and Biden, they’re probably people you’ve never heard of. But if you make a donation, you will most definitely hear from them again.

And from a lot of other folks. Give once and your name is probably going to wind up on donor lists that are compiled, traded and sold all over the political world.

“Once you get on that list it’s almost impossible to get off,” said Rick Hasen, a professor at the University of California, Irvine, School of Law.

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