Cuban Tweet Urges Donations to Food Banks Instead of Georgia's Senate Runoffs

Mark Cuban
Mark Cuban Peter Larsen
On Thursday, Mark Cuban Tweeted an interesting idea: Instead of donating to campaigns in Georgia that will determine control of the Senate, we should reconsider and donate to a local food bank.

Candidates for Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats were up for reelection Nov. 3. The Peach State requires a candidate to garner at least 50% of votes to win. None of the candidates reached that mark, so there’s a runoff for both seats on Jan. 8.

If Democrats win both seats, the Senate will have a 50/50 party split with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tie-breaker.

In one race, incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue received 49.8% of the votes to his challenger, Democrat Jon Ossoff, who got 47.9% of the votes, about an 85,000 difference. Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel snagged 2.3% of the vote (or 114,894 votes). So, it’s a tight race.

In the other race, Republican Kelly Loeffler, who was appointed to the seat in 2019 after her predecessor retired, went up against a rather crowded field. Democrat Raphael Warnock won 32.7% of votes to Loeffler’s 26%. They’ll face-off in January, too.

Either way, it could be a one-party sweep, largely dependent on turnout. Theoretically, whichever party shows up in greater numbers will get both seats and control of the Senate. Democrats have a House majority.

Back to Cuban’s Tweet about food banks and elections: Chief government relations officer at Feeding America, Kate Leone, told the Observer in response to Cuban's Tweet that food insecurity and hunger should be a non-partisan issue since they affect both Republicans and Democrats alike.

“Food banks play a critical role in addressing food insecurity in this country, but there is no question that the federal nutrition programs are the most important way to help families put food on the table. For example, for every meal our network provides, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides nine,” Leone says.

And to that end, legislators determine how successful nutrition assistance can be.

“Food banks play an important role, but we can’t do it alone. We need the federal government to do its part, that is why Feeding America encourages people to educate themselves on the issues and to vote.”

One of the greatest recent challenges to food insecurity in America has been the coronavirus pandemic, which happened under a Republican-held Senate and president. In July, President and CEO Tricia Cunningham of the North Texas Food Bank, which is a member of Feeding America, told us that the local community is facing food insecurity “at a level that the food bank has never seen.” 

Many responded to Cuban on Twitter by emphasizing that donating to a political campaign would, in fact, help those in need. Singer-songwriter John Legend Tweeted back: “I get that politics is annoying and contentious, but the bottom line is that the Senate flipping would be far more impactful than a food bank donation. We need massive stimulus and aid to individuals and small businesses. Government needs to do this. Charity isn’t sufficient.”

A few years ago, a study looked at the issue of politics and charitable giving. Four research professors explored how different ideologies affect donations. The New York Times journalist Paul Sullivan analyzed the findings and summarized with this, echoing Leone’s statement:

“Those in favor of lower taxes have argued that individuals are more capable than the government of allocating money to important causes, including people in need of assistance. But the study found that was not true. Donations do not match government assistance, and without tax money, social services are not funded as robustly.”

The Georgia runoff election is of great national importance, but did we also mention the NTFB has a $200,000 match opportunity going on right now?  You can donate here.
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Lauren Drewes Daniels is the Dallas Observer's food editor. She started writing about local restaurants, chefs, beer and kouign-amanns in 2011. She's driven through two dirt devils and is certain they were both some type of cosmic force.