Anyone who thought money can buy elections should be reconsidering their position over the past year.While it’s true that in any election, the candidate with the largest budget tends to win, that isn’t necessarily because of the money on hand itself.
The authors of the popular book “Freakonomics” made the case that candidates who are viewed more favorably from the outset simply attract more money. They win because they’re viewed more favorably – and the money is simply a byproduct of that (which helps too, of course, it’s just not the deciding factor).If a candidate is rolling in the cash thanks to a few select special interest mega-donors, having more money is hardly a reflection of the public’s perception of that candidate. It’s why Hillary Clinton could spend twice as much on her campaign than Donald Trump – and still lose.
And again last night, as Republicans continue to win elections faster than Democrats can shoot them (ouch, too soon?), Karen Handel handily defeated Jon Ossoff in Georgia’s special election despite him being flush with cash.
As the Washington Examiner reported, either Democrat Jon Ossoff wasn’t paying attention or he’s really bad at math though. Before the special election polls closed, the 30-year-old aspiring boy wonder went on NPR to complain about money in politics.“The role of money in politics is a major problem and particularly the role of unchecked anonymous money,” Ossoff said. “There have been super PACs in Washington who have been putting up tens of millions of dollars of attack ads in air for months now.”
And then with just a day to go and apparently un-ironically, Ossoff offered up the most unaware statement of the entire race: “We need campaign finance reform.”
Simple arithmetic shows the stupidity of that sentiment. According to campaign finance documents compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics, Ossoff spent six times more money than Handel. His campaign raised more than $24 million to her $4.5 million.The vast majority of Ossoff’s funding came from California. In other words, most of his campaign funding came from a state whose residents couldn’t vote for him to represent a Congressional district in which even he doesn’t reside.