Now that the Supreme Court in its not very worldly wisdom has decided that money is speech and those who have it in abundance can spend as much as they want to try to buy the elections, there is an attempt by Democrats to keep up, to try to raise just as much as Republicans. They do this in large part by asking small donors to contribute as much as they can, even sometimes suggesting as little as $3.00. I now receive emails from Democratic candidates in states far from where I live. Perhaps they realize that I would not be donating to local Idaho Democratic candidates who are, to begin with, scarce, and also doomed to lose. If you are a Democrat in Idaho your vote, realistically, doesn’t count. But I digress.
Many of the solicitations I now receive on a daily basis start out by saying something like, “The Koch brothers have already committed X amount of their massive fortunes to defeat so-and-so, we have to raise similar amounts to try to win.” I’m not sure that trying to raise as much as the Koch brothers, Karl Rove, Addelson, and others is even possible. But even if it is this strikes me as a genuine “Suckers game,” a monumental scam.
Consider where all the money goes. Most of it is spent on expensive advertising on television or newspapers and such. But who owns or controls most all of the media? The very people who are offering up vast sums of their own money are the same people who own the media. This is, simply put, a situation in which they take money from one of their pockets and put it in another of their pockets. Basically, over time, they break even. So why do they bother to spend so much money, the more the better?
That’s where the suckers come in. When Democrats spend money it goes to the same media as Republican money does, but Democrats, for the most part, do not own or control the media. In their case they are basically taking money out of their pockets and depositing it in the pockets of their opponents. If this is true, and it seems to me it is, at least roughly true, it follows that the more money Republicans front, the more they stimulate their suckers to contribute. It’s the same basic principle that constitutes all of their activity, taking from the poor, so to speak, and giving to the wealthy. This seems perfectly obvious to me. I would like someone to explain to me why it might not be true.
Given that Republicans control the major media they could, I suppose, simply make it more difficult or even impossible for Democrats to use it, and given their propensity for trying to deny the vote to Democrats, you might wonder why they do not do so (there could be laws against this, I do not know). But that would, of course, reduce their profits, thus they try to get Democratic suckers to spend as much as possible.
This would appear to be another example of “them as has, gets.” Under this arrangement Democrats are at a considerable disadvantage. Given the importance of the media in influencing public opinion Democrats cannot ignore it and must participate somewhat. This raises an interesting question, just how much does money and advertising actually influence the vote. It would seem clear that those who spend the most do not necessarily win, so why the emphasis on raising as much or more money than your opponents? Obviously there are other factors involved, it is not a matter of buying votes even though it might seem that way. If I had anything to do with it, which I certainly do not, I would suggest that Democrats not try to match the virtually unlimited resources of the billionaires and corporations, nor would I try to match them ad for ad. I would opt for quality over quantity and limit the number of ads but make them much more creative and focused (with so many ads by Republicans you can be sure most of them will be pretty stupid). I would also utilize the U.S. Postal service (not yet a privatized Republican controlled business), and I would spend tons of money on just plain old-fashioned getting out the vote. It is well known that if more people vote Democrats have an advantage, if fewer people vote the advantage goes to the Republicans. If Democrats do not vote in record numbers the Republicans could very well take the Senate, keep the House, and return us to the 19th century. Power to the People!
You only have power over people so long as you don't take everything away from them. But when you've robbed a man of everything, he's no longer in your power - he's free again.