A couple of weeks ago I donated $100 to a presumably puzzled Republican Party of Virginia.
Last November I offered to make a $100 bet that Jeff Frederick would seek reelection to the House of Delegates after Frederick promised that he wouldn’t do so if he became the chair of the RPV. Shaun Kenney took me up on the bet, with the agreement that the loser would give the money to the winner’s state political party. In the intervening months Frederick was ousted from the RPV chairmanship (which I was counting on), but also expressed a disenchantment with politics and said that he wouldn’t be running for anything anytime soon. Including, as he promised, his own House seat. He made good on that—Rafael Lopez is the Republican candidate in the 52nd district (Democrat Luke Torian is running against him.
So I lose, and Shaun Kenney wins. Which is too bad, because I’d just love to see Frederick remain in a leadership position. And it’s also too bad because I had to give up a hundred bucks, and to the RPV, of all places.
What I did like about this process, though, is the effect of putting my money where my mouth was. $100 has a way of focusing the mind. I paid a lot of attention to Frederick’s actions in the past eight months, always considering how it might affect my wallet. This market-driven approach to political prognostication is healthy. Even if the quantity was just $10, it provides a value to place under consideration, a resolution to two differing views, and an opportunity for one party (me, on this occasion) to ‘fess up to having been wrong, and another party (Shaun) to say “I told you so.” The only change I’d make next time is to designate some charities, as opposed to political parties, as the recipients of the money. The Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, for instance, could do a lot more good with $100 than either the DPVA or the RPV. I’d love to see these sorts of friendly, charity-benefiting bets become more common in the Virginia political process.