Sunday, April 24, 2016

An interesting summary on Dark Money topics

 See the link here.

There has been some talk lately that since Jeb Bush, Scott Walker (a
Koch favorite) and others who had Big Money dropped out of the race for
the Republican nomination, money is not the factor in politics many
thought it would be after the Supreme Court unleashed the money wolves
in Citizens United.  This is nonsense.  Presidential campaigns are the worst barometer to measure the impact of money on politics.

The race for the presidency is covered by the national media in
excessive and excrutiating detail.  At least the leading candidates
are.  No amount of advertising can match the free advertising of the
news media, as Donald Trump proves conclusively.  With the leaders
covered so intensely, a dull or “low energy” candidate such as Jeb Bush,
or a difficult personality such as Scott Walker, will only rarely
succeed even with freight cars of cash.

But the media coverage is less intense for even U.S. senate races,
and virtually non-existent for state legislative and congressional
campaigns.  Here is where the uber rich have found rich returns, as
Mayer describes.  Plus, the uber rich, as well as other wealthy
businessmen, have found equal rewards in funding “grass roots” campaigns
through TV ads.  This is how the Tea Party got traction and why
citizens raged against the Affordable Care Act for no truly articulable
and truthful reason.


  1. While doing the reading I actually put a similar comment in my reading summary. It also would make sense that U.S. Senate races would receive more attention naturally than U.S. House races and that could explain why the republicans have such a firm control of the House while the democrats have a decent chance of retaking the Senate this election (besides that gerrymandering cannot affect Senate races).

    It also may have something to do with the scale of spending. If Steven Levitt is right and money in elections works at a logarithmic scale, then the races where there is less money naturally are more susceptible to outside money's influence. This dark money comes in and maybe quadruples spending in state legislative races, and that is definitely enough to tip the scales just enough to win several extra seats. Meanwhile, for the presidency to quadruple spending you would need to spend billions of dollars and at this time. The Koch's and there dark money partners are just not willing to do that in a single election. Yet.

  2. It is a really interesting point that the media does not cover elections for state legislative when in fact those are the ones that really matter. and that is where the big money is!