Sunday, June 21, 2015

Test Case

Bernie Sanders is in town.  A lot of Hollywood progressives are impressed.  Of course, he's not getting anywhere near the support Obama got, or Hillary Clinton is getting.  You may wonder why people who hire accountants to make sure they pay the least amount of taxes possible, and have agents and managers and lawyers to negotiates the best deals, would want someone in office who seems likely to raise their taxes.  I have to assume they feel good about that vote, and figure they can take the cut in income without feeling it.  I'd be more impressed if they actually had something to lose.

Bernie, like Hillary, is promising to fight against the Citizens United case, and get the kind of money out of politics that would make it harder to criticize him  Okay, he doesn't put it that way. He says billionaires (though absolutely everyone can contribute money to get their message out under Citizens United), except the billionaires who run the media, for some reason (the reason being if you limit the "media" (the media being officially recognized sources, though from our founding days anyone could spend a little money and put out a pamphlet to get their point of view heard) from speaking during an election, the revocation of the First Amendment is so obvious not even Bernie Sanders can pretend it's something else, plus the media tend not to criticize Dems as much as Republicans) have to be stopped from speaking out.

Well guess what, we've got a test case. Donald Trump has decided to run.  He claims he's worth 9 billion.  Let's have him spend 8 billion to get elected.  If he wins the election--no, if he even wins the nomination for his party--I'll be convinced that billionaires have the mystical power to cloud the electorate's mind with money alone. But if 8 billion can't even win him a single state, then maybe Hillary and Bernie should stop speaking nonsense about money in politics.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if Trump convinces the voters through his personality and programs?

1:21 AM, June 21, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

To be honest, I don't know what he's running on, so we can't rule that out. We'll just have to watch and see if his popularity rises (or falls) with his debates or his ads.

2:33 AM, June 21, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

My hat is off to you, Anonymous.

4:39 AM, June 21, 2015  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

While more of a supporter of people who hate Citizens United, I have never been that worried about. As LA Guy rightfully points out, rich guys have generally proved they are very good at making money, not necessarily other things like persuading people to vote for them. There has been a history of the ultra-rich who were supposed to pervert the process and steal democracy and we all remember President John Connally, Senator Michael Huffington, Secretary of State Sheldon Adelson etc... (Obama raised tons of cash but his method seemed to work at a individual level- many of those small donors became activists and voters while Sheldon and his household retainers could only vote once). Be thankful for dumb money (although I really don't like the enriching of networks and local TV but that's another post). Spending like mad on a message can often help to show more people how out of touch a rich guy is and rebound against him.

I get it. People who generally benefit from Citizens United espouse policy positions currently that are an anathema to the Dems and most principled decisions in politics are filtered through how will this help/hurt me in the next election/legislative cycle (cf. positions on filibuster, voter registration etc...)

Money, like a winning smile or a good speaking voice or a strong base of support with a particular group is a good tool in politics but hardly the crucial thing (If they could spend $$ to block another candidate's message, I'd be more concerned).

Thank you for getting rid of the food pictures in the robot test

5:34 AM, June 21, 2015  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I have no control over the food pictures--the computer decides that, apparently on a case-by-case basis.

Money is a necessary but not sufficient factor in politics. People often get it backwards. Money can't get you elected, no matter how much you have (and no matter where it comes from, billionaires or others). But money is a useful measure of 1) how much chance people think you have of winning and 2) how much the people contributing to you agree with your politics.

It's also a case of diminishing returns. Money is a factor in helping how a politician is perceived (and by no means the most important one). But after it's helped get your message out there, more money doesn't do a lot more for you.

Anyway, the money in politics that counts the most is the money you promise the voters after you're elected.

10:30 AM, June 21, 2015  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

And it's that last money the court actually could limit in a healthy way, simply by applying the equal protection clause. Or, you know, holding that a tax is tax and if Congress says it's not a tax, its word should be nearly dispositive.

4:33 PM, June 21, 2015  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

LA Guy has it right. Money does not lead, it follows politicians. Once ina while, you have corrupt individuals who can be bought and choose a particular vote as a quid pro quo. Even then, if the vote is too obviously contrary to the politician's previous stance, it raises questions of integrity and probably results in an investigation.

As rich as they are, who could have inspired Romney or Kerry or almost any other politician these days to take a position they didn't already hold.

6:00 AM, June 23, 2015  

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