There’s hardly enough room within 140 characters to have a rousing discussion about politics, but Twitter and Square are betting it’s enough for those who want to put their money behind their favorite candidates.
With the 2016 presidential election revving up, Twitter and Square announced a partnership that will allow anybody with an active profile and a few bucks to donate to their favorite political candidates’ campaigns, according to the company’s blog. After verified candidates set up business accounts with Square Cash, Twitter users can reply to “$Cashtags” in their timelines to donate their preferred amounts.
“By partnering with Square to enable donations through tweets, and as the 2016 election season heats up, we’ve upgraded these tools through which citizens can raise their voices to champion causes and candidates they support,” Twitter said in a blog post.
This kind of grassroots approach may be just what campaign finance reform needs. According to Open Secrets, although less than 0.23 percent of the U.S. population donates more than $200 at a time to political campaigns, those contributions aggregate to a total of 66.6 percent of all campaign pledges.
Twitter and Square previously teamed up to bring the functionality of $Cashtags to the business world, enabling businesses and entrepreneurs to send and receive payments with the click of a button. The announcement of the political side of $Cashtags couldn’t come at a better time with the second Republican primary debate scheduled for Sept. 16.
As the candidates take to the stage, the audience may be simultaneously reaching for their phones. Though some of the 2016 candidates have already built sizable funds to fuel their presidential runs well into 2016, such as Hillary Clinton’s $64 million war chest and Jeb Bush’s $114 million purse, the ability to garner donations on the spot from audiences at debates or stump speeches could change the campaign finance game entirely.