Yesterday I did a little reading and learned that money can’t really buy elections.
But when it’s evaluated and facts are set out, it becomes complicated. Not because money can buy elections (it can’t), but because so much money is being poured into elections and all that money is driving people crazy. There’s a false perception springing out of this that the guy who has the most money is going to be the winner.
The tenor of the craziness seems to be: if $billions are being spent on election campaigns, well…it has to mean something, right? It has to have an effect.
Nah. It doesn’t.
But I have learned something that explains why at this moment, pre-election day, I’m reading tons of tweets from candidates claiming they’re winning, or are close to winning and if we help them with money, it’d be great.
They’re doing this because of what must be a strategy developed by political psychologists: candidates who are thought to be winning will pull in more money than candidates who are seen to be behind in the race.
Back in 2016, I started wondering about the money argument. I started to think that all the conversation about big money in campaigns, as well as the garish display of big money in campaigns, was possibly de-sensitizing us to its power. That is, if — and I think it’s a big if — at one time after Citizens United some people were impressed by pounding campaign ads, isn’t it reasonable to think that those people are not paying avid attention anymore?
Ask yourself this: have you seen a campaign ad that’s influenced you to change your mind about the candidate you support, i.e., to shift your vote to the other guy?
If so, I guess you’re the kind of person who has laid out big bucks for Prevagen.
I firmly, loudly believe that campaign contributions should not be coming from Dark Money PACs, or corporations, or very rich people, beyond the contribution limits I live within as an individual donor. I would like our politics to be publicly financed. Therefore, I’m a fervent supporter of Sheldon Whitehouse’s DISCLOSE Act which, thanks to the Senate GOP, did not pass a few months ago.* And I’d love Citizens United to be demolished any which way it can.
But Dark Money isn’t forcing Georgia voters to hail Marjorie Taylor Greene as their personal demon-busting savior, while the vast rest of us sit around shaking our heads over how the fuck did this appalling, dopey reality TV performer wind up in Congress.
So let’s look at the bright light in all this big money political furor. Which is that a bunch of loathsome, repulsively rich people are flinging their $$$ out, thinking they’re actually affecting elections.
Remember, every $billion spent by those horrible people means one less megayacht in their portfolio. Is it possible that their “investments” in political candidates is about to go belly-up and leave them fingering their cryptocoins in a padded room? On their yacht?
*One more good piece of legislation that will be re-presented and passed — if the Democrats get a majority in the Senate and keep a majority in the House.