The Brennan Center reminded me (see below) of the nefarious Koch Bros and their plan to end democracy, i.e., what I call the Neu Wannsee Conference.
Outside groups — free from contribution limits and able to conceal their donors from the public — are outspending the parties and candidates in ten key races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate.
A few key paragraphs from the above linked report:
- Outside spending is reaching record highs: The current record-holder for most expensive race is the 2014 North Carolina contest, which reached $39 million by the end of September and $116 million in total. Four contests are already on pace to beat that mark: Pennsylvania ($69 million by the end of September); Ohio ($49 million); New Hampshire ($48 million); and Nevada ($43 million).
- GOP winning outside money battle: Nearly 60 percent of the money spent so far in top Senate races supports GOP candidates, a reversal from 2014. Dark money spending, from groups that conceal their donors, favors GOP candidates six to one.
- Dark money spending is highly concentrated: Just three groups, One Nation, with ties to Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell; the Koch network’s Americans for Prosperity; and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, account for 67 percent of all dark money spending.
Unlike the Brennan Center, I haven’t the capacity to smell out where big, dark money has been going in this campaign season. As a person genetically imbued (cursed?) with optimism, I was delighted–apparently over-delighted–to see evidence of what I thought was the Koch Bros’ failure to buy the Senate race in Wisconsin, where Russ Feingold has been running to take back his Senate seat from GOP Ron Johnson.
I’ve been aware that Koch’s promised $900 million for this campaign hasn’t been going to Trump. So where was it going? Was their Neu Wannsee Conference failing throughout the U.S? O joy, O rapture unforeseen!
There were signs that, yes, it was. To my more than surprise, slightly less than shock, Indiana and Missouri, two reliably red states, were turning out big Blue numbers for Evan Bayh’s and Jason Kander’s Senate races.
I follow Nate Silver on his 538.com, because he carried me serenely through 2008 and 2012. I know a lot of people are finding him sour this time, but I don’t. I find him realistic, and I like the way 538 tweaks the polls, and explains the tweaks.
Because this campaign has been driving me, first, mentally nuts and then, subsequently, slightly nauseous (and this is with my certifiable cast-iron stomach), I’ve been on 538 so many times a day I don’t want to tell you.
I haven’t been able to copy and paste 538’s line charts in here, so I’ve taken the dates and numbers down. And really, if I wanted to be nauseous, I could simply look at three charts which are to me proof of the wreckage Citizens United and the Koch Bros money have done to our democracy.
Here are polling records, per 538, of the Senate race in Indiana, where Evan Bayh is running against veteran Republican Todd Young; and Missouri, where Jason Kander (D) is running against veteran Roy Blunt. (Warning: reading this might make your cast-iron stomach churn. Have a receptacle handy.) (P.S. I’ve sacrificed a lot to bring these numbers to you so don’t vomit on my shoes.) (I’ve bolded the particularly stunning numbers.)
As of date Evan Bayh % Todd Young %
8/4 53.9 43.0
9/12 51.7 45.2
9/30 50.9 45.8
10/9 49.2 47.4
11/4 47.9 49.0
11/7 47.1 49.8
As of date Jason Kander % Roy Blunt %
10/18 59.3 40.7
10/28 60.9 39.1
11/3 53.1 46.9
11/5 41.8 58.2
11/7 40.7 59.3
Nothing, and I mean nothing could cause Kander to drop 20 points in a couple of weeks except huge amounts of money pouring into Blunt’s maw.
When I looked at this, I had visual absolute evidence of how big money can in the “Show Me” state buy a Senate seat. What do Missourians want shown to them, anyway? It says very little for the voters in this state when an attractive candidate has a 20 percent advantage in the upcoming election, but the voters can be so easily and so quickly bought off with a tsunami of TV ads. (That’s my assumption, anyway; where else could the money make so big a difference? We in New York have been relatively free of TV pounding since why should a candidate for anything other than the House spend money on TV ads in my so blue state?)
The only bit of good news: as we all know, the Kochs own Wisconsin–and shame on you voters in this historically progressive state for ignoring your roots and brains–and its governor, Scott Walker. Somehow the Kochs were not able to make Walker the GOP presidential nominee.
And Russ Feingold began to look like a terrific winner for the Senate seat he once held. Yet take a look at the same sort of chart below to see what’s happened to Feingold’s numbers, now that Koch money has been diverted to the Senate:
As of date Russ Feingold % Ron Johnson %
8/25 54.8 42.3
10/9 52.6 44.8
10/12 51.7 45.6
11/7 50.7 47.0
I think and hope Feingold will prevail. But still, those numbers, that slump…
The Koch Brothers Final Solution to Democracy: buy it, then kill it.