One campaign-season cliche we can retire: “money buys elections”.
Trump won is election very much on the cheap:
Of course, the battlefield was already littered with candidates from both parties that outspent their opponents, only to lose. Meg Whitman, John Corzine, Linda McMahon and a host of other famous and unfamous names outspent their opponents on the way to defeat in previous years. But Trump may put all of those elections to shame when it comes to disparity of resources.
Consider that Hillary Clinton’s campaign outspent Trump by more than two-to-one. Pro-Clinton ads outnumbered pro-Trump ads by three-to-one. Independent groups (the “super PACs”) supporting Clinton outspent independent groups supporting Trump by three-to-one. The average contribution to Trump was smaller than the average contribution to Clinton. And on and on it goes.
Which, in a reasonable world, would put a hard kibosh on the idea of campaign finance “Reform”:
We’re told by campaign finance “reformers” that we must restrict spending in politics so that “people” can have their voices heard. But voters in 2016 ultimately chose the candidate without even a “real” super PAC to speak of.
This tells us two things: First, that money is simply the facilitator by which candidates speak to voters, but that voters will make up their own minds. Second, it shows us that money simply can’t make up for a message that people aren’t interested in. After his defeat, the man in charge of Jeb Bush’s $100 million super PAC remarked of the voters: “They just weren’t buying what we were selling.”
Let’s hope the same goes for tired tropes on money in politics.
Look for the Democrats to push a bill establishing minimum spending.