The big loser in Tuesdays election? Big money. | THE POLITICUS

The big loser in Tuesdays election? Big money.

     I wrote a diary quite a while ago that opined that Citizens United turned out to be a paper tiger, that Super PAC’s were overrated. Not too many people agreed with me then, and I’m sure a lot won’t now. One of the examples I gave at the time was Sherrod Brown out of Ohio. The GOP hates him and desperately wanted his seat. He was outspent by his opponent and related outside groups by something like 8-1 and still won reelection.

     There was another reason for my thinking, Citizens United turned Super PAC’s into damaged goods. Everybody but corporations hated that ruling, and Super PAC’s, and as a result, whenever a group had to identify itself at the end of a commercial, everybody immediately wiped it out of their memory banks, it was just a corporation trying to buy an election.

     There are plenty of more examples now. Jeb! Bush raised over $100M in his Super PAC in less than 6 months and didn’t even make it to Memorial day. Sheriff Joe Arpaio had over $2M in his reelection poke for a county Sheriffs race for God’s sake, and he’s still hanging up his six guns. A few years ago Karl Rove raised over $100M in his Super PAC for the 2012 cycle, and when the dust settled, he had something like a 0.046% ROI for all of that cash he blew. Bernie Sanders had no Super PAC, and his donations averaged the famed $27, but he took Hillary to the limit. $27 doesn’t seem like much, it won’t buy a family of 4 a dinner out, but when you have a few million people kicking it in, month after month, it do tend to pay the bills.

     Social media was the daylight for the Super PAC vampire. This country is steadily getting younger and smarter. And young, smart people are not sitting at home watching the boob tube with their parents all night, being bombarded by political ads. No, they’re busy falling into fountains while texting while they’re walking through the mall, and being captured on You Tube. The Sanders campaign used social media magnificently, personalizing it, and being religious about responding to incoming comments and queries. One 3 AM Tweet bought Trump news cycle after news cycle, and it didn’t cost him a dime.

     A corporation can’t “buy” social media. Oh, you can post on it, but it is not immediately seen, each person has to make the choice of whether to view or read your stuff. And you can’t control social media either. People are free to speak their minds, and they do, and in this platform they can reach a whole lot of people with their opinions. And if those opinions are not helpful to you or your candidate, there’s nothing you can do about it. It’s out there, and it’s being digested and discussed. And it is not corporately driven, they aren’t talking so much about ads as they are about candidates, and their opinions of them, and they’re finding kindred spirits.

     Grassroots support will beat big money most of the time for one simple reason. Super PAC’s cannot pay your campaign expenses, charter your jet, pay for rallies, you must have campaign money to do all of that. And more importantly, Super PAC’s are forbidden to communicate with or coordinate with campaigns. Their messages can slam an opponent, but not endorse one. One can only wonder how often a Super PAC is hammering home a message that the actual campaign may not be keying on or even wanting highlighted.

     Bernie Sanders had no Super PAC, he was in total control of every message that went out in his advertising. It could be coordinated with the theme the campaign was pushing at that time, for that region or issue. The same thing with Trump. His Super PAC had a severe money shortage, their media footprint was minimal. But what advertising that the Trump campaign put out was specifically geared for his message, and it wasn’t getting stomped on my a conflicting message being put out by the Super PAC.

     An excellent ARTICLE on CNN.com goes into more detail on this subject, including interviews with several major donors and bundlers who freely admit that their power and prestige has been greatly diminished by current trends and events. They admitted that the problem with Super PAC’s is their management. Rich businessmen set up Super PAC’s so needy candidates will kiss their ass, but they don’t know enough about politics to successfully run the operation, and sometimes do more harm than good.

     Don’t get me wrong. Super PAC’s are not dead, and they’re not going anywhere anytime soon. But they are not proving out to be the anti democratic juggernaut that everyone feared they would be following the SCOTUS decision. Outside money played a significant role in quite a few down ballot races this year, but that was explainable by the fact that so many major donors ignored the RNC this year in protest of Trump and spent into those races directly. This may well be the future of Super PAC’s going forward, since they have been largely ineffective in influencing National races. And it doesn’t require $150M to destroy democracy, Mein Furor just taught us that bitter lesson.

     Thanks as always for reading, you are ALL the wind beneath my wings!

Issue: