Donald Trump

Imbalance of Campaign Cash Doesn't Bother Democrats This Election

Trump's shoestring campaign is subsisting on less than half of Clinton's vast fortune, yet the usual voices supporting taxpayer-funded political campaigns have fallen strangely silent.


Jeremy Hogan/Polaris/Newscom

One unappreciated virtue of the Donald Trump presidential campaign is that it may finally vanquish the left-wing argument in favor of government funding of political campaigns.

On the face of it, Trump's campaign would seem to be a textbook case in support of leveling the playing field by assuring that both candidates have equal resources. After all, The New York Times reported in Sunday's paper: "Mr. Trump continues to fight at a severe financial and organizational disadvantage against Mrs. Clinton, leaving him without the funds to campaign effectively across all of the states Mr. Romney contested. At the end of June, Mr. Trump had less than half as much cash in reserve as Mrs. Clinton—$20 million to her $44 million."

This imbalance of campaign cash—Trump's shoestring campaign struggling to subsist on less than half of Clinton's vast fortune—is precisely the sort of "inequality" that Democrats and even the occasional misguided Republican often propose to deal with by means of government redistribution of wealth. A 2013 New York Times editorial about the New York State campaign finance system, for example, said "the most crucial reform of all" is "public financing of elections, which is essential to encouraging competition for legislative offices and reducing the influence of big money on the state's politics."

The usual voices supporting taxpayer-funded political campaigns as a way to get special interest money out of the system have fallen strangely silent now that Donald Trump is the one who is getting outspent, and now that Hillary Clinton is the one being aided by "the influence of big money."

It's almost enough to make a cynic suspect that the left's support for campaign finance "reform" of this sort isn't really about "encouraging competition" at all, but more about providing a kind of welfare subsidy for candidates that the left favors.

A lot of newspaper editorial writers and left-wing Democrats favor campaign finance "reform" that includes taxpayer-financed campaigns and strict spending limits. These same newspaper editorial writers and left-wing Democrats also think that Donald Trump is a coarse and ignorant bigot who is unfit for any public office. Holding those two views simultaneously puts them in a predicament, because following their positions to their consistent, logical conclusion would dictate that their own tax dollars be taken from them and given to a candidate they think is a bigot. It would also dictate that the anti-bigot candidate—Clinton—be forced to limit her spending against the bigot.

The system the left backs would tax everyone—including Muslims, Mexican-Americans, women, the disabled, immigrants. Then it would take their money and give it to Trump to help improve his chances against Clinton by making sure he has exactly as much money to spend on campaign commercials and get-out-the-vote programs as she does. Sound like a bad idea? No wonder you haven't heard many cries for campaign finance reform along these lines in this election season.

There is a presidential public-financing system already in place funded by a voluntary check-off on individual income tax returns. But to receive money from it, candidates must agree to limit their overall campaign spending to $96.14 million in the general election and their spending from personal funds to $50,000. Those limits are so unreasonably low that in 2008 and 2012 Barack Obama chose to opt out of public financing; he declined federal matching funds for the general election. Mitt Romney did the same in 2012.

If Donald Trump's presidential campaign helps people realize that the idea of publicly financed elections is so bad it deserves to wither away and die, it'll have been worth the trouble for that contribution alone. Let liberals imagine a world in which every dollar that they or anyone else give to try to defeat Trump is matched on the other side with some multiple of taxpayer dollars to subsidize Trump to make sure that he is "competitive" and to counteract the "influence of big money."

Meanwhile, it sure is funny to see how the calls for public financing of campaigns have a way of suddenly abating when the Republican candidate turns out to be the one who is being outspent.

NEXT: Trump's Republican Convention Was the Opposite of Effective

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  1. This election has really been amusing.
    It’s all fun and games until you sober up and remember that one of these slaptards will be crowned president in January.

    1. So? These States survived the Kenyan much better than the GO Pee’s George Waffen Bush or (same domestic policies) Herbert Hoover. Is there really more than a dime’s worth of difference–now that we know God’s Own Prohibitionists are what wreck the economy with prohibitionist asset forfeiture?

      1. It feels good to get those words out. Next time we can work on coherence.

        1. He continually obsesses about Hoover when he is off his meds.

      2. You say “These States survived the Kenyan,” but there’s still time left in Obama’s term for the stock market and economy to crash, and indeed, it has already started crashing.

        Indeed, since the Democrats were saying that the crappy economy during the first 4 years of Obama’s term were due to W., then we must also wait 4 years till after Obama’s last day in office to see the full effect of his policies and find out whether these States REALLY survived his policies.

  2. I guess I should have left this here instead of on the other thread.


    The hope is that voters will continue to assume that “Big Money in politics” = “Republican” and that “Democrat” = “opposed to Big Money in politics,” despite all available evidence.

    They really are openly relying on their supporters being morons.

    1. In their defense, that seems like a pretty safe bet overall no matter which party you’re in.

  3. Couldn’t we just buy C-Span some better equipment and limit election stuff to that channel or something? I don’t really understand why the election has to cost hundreds of millions, regardless of who’s paying the bill.

    1. I don’t really understand why the election has to cost hundreds of millions

      So that the politicians can SPEND those hundreds of millions, gaining influence without appearing to pay anyone off.

    2. Given how much is at stake for the nominees, spending far less on campaigns than an average Halloween’s candy sales is reasonable. (H/T George Will)

      1. The side effect to limiting campaign stuff to public access would be lazy uninformed people wouldn’t pay attention and wouldn’t vote based on their own stupid rationale. I consider that a win. The biggest problem with democracy is people are fucking morons.

    3. “and limit election stuff to that channel”
      Ever heard of the first amendment?

    4. Elections, particularly the presidential type, always cost hundreds of millions . Which really doesn’t seem to make any sense at at all, considering that the general job description would read something along the lines of this… “CEO position available, duties are limited to PR and minimal but capable management for a well known Constitutional Republic. Must have a basic understanding of economics, as a large and growing debt to income problem means there is a high probability of bankruptcy if current management policies are continued. Must be capable of sharing power and working with an elected board of directors and the legal department, both of which are co-equal according to the bylaws, and which are also further empowered to over-rule your decisions or fire you at their discretion. This can be a high stress job with a legal maximum of two (4 year) terms of employment. Housing and travel expenses are included and salary is capped at $400,000/year.”

  4. Principals, not Principles.

    Just like Soros money GOOD, Koch money BAD

    1. I actually heard Tom Steyer say pretty much that during a recent TV interview. When asked what the difference was between him spending money on politics and the Koch brothers spending money on politics; his short response was no more than, “I am good and they are bad.” The audience burst into applause.

      1. And of course liberals think he and Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet, and George Soros, are all great people because they support the “right” causes, and want Top Men to run all of our lives, whereas the Kochs are horrible terrible people who want to kill people because they want to leave you alone.

      2. Well now that the Kochs are pro-Hillary, that only cements the right’s claims that she’s the DEVIL!

  5. “One unappreciated virtue of the Donald Trump presidential campaign is that it may finally vanquish the left-wing argument in favor of government funding of political campaigns.”

    Well, it might make it easier to argue against it, but their argument had nothing to do with good government, and everything to with have total, unopposed power, so don’t expect them to acknowledge it.

  6. To late Hillary called for campaign finance reform this morning. I think it goes along this idea give money to those we approve and everyone else can go f””” themselves

  7. One unappreciated virtue of the Donald Trump presidential campaign is that it may finally vanquish the left-wing argument in favor of government funding of political campaigns.

    Not bloody likely.

  8. That’s about right. Certainly there are no women other than professional strippers, wannabee grannies and Wizened Christian Temperance Union fossils in the GO Pee camp. As George Orwell observed, “Bully-worship, under various disguises, has become a universal religion…” and nothing–not even the Mohammedan Saracen–is more religiously superstitious than the Republican Party Platform Committee. The Dems are gonna walk this, bookies are laying short odds on that.

    1. Man, you really hate the GOP, don’t you.

      1. Just ignore it. There’s no sense to be found in his bizarre ramblings.

  9. RE: Imbalance of Campaign Cash Doesn’t Bother Democrats This Election
    Trump’s shoestring campaign is subsisting on less than half of Clinton’s vast fortune, yet the usual voices supporting taxpayer-funded political campaigns have fallen strangely silent.

    The little people of this country (rich or poor) should not be allowed to choose how much money they give to their favorite political candidate. First, giving money to the political candidate of their choice implies the untermenschen live in a free country to choose where their money should go. They do not live in a free country, and as we all know, our obvious betters enslaving us should make that decision because they are so much smarter than all of us put together and know where to put campaign cash in a much safer and secure place, like our socialist slavers Swiss bank accounts. Secondly, giving campaign contributions to the political candidate of choice only represents the very worst of capitalists excess. The unwashed masses should not have this kind of money to throw around. If they do, then it should be redistributed by people who are so much more intelligent than them, ie. our beloved and benevolent ruling class elitists who have made our country the workers paradise that it is today in order to not only make our lives even more miserable, but to ingratiate them with more money, power and control over us.
    Isn’t that what we all want for all of us?

    1. The Nixon anti-libertarian campaign bribery law was signed within 24 hours of the forming of the Libertarian Party. Let’s have some DemoGOP sockpuppets squeak in unison that “correlation is not causality”…
      No clearer evidence of the entrenched kleptocracy circling its wagons could be hoped for. They are simply betting that the Party of Principle will go whoring after subsidies like the looters of cronyism and the communists of pelf.

      1. Need some word dressing on that word salad?

  10. Romney and McCain were both massively outspent by Obama, and yet the left still managed to accuse Republicans of being the party of the rich. I’m not holding my breath waiting for them to suddenly make the connection now.

    1. Don’t forget how Michael Bloomberg boasts that he can “outspend the NRA”, yet the NRA is still seen as some shady cabal of gun industry executives who pour unfathomable sums of money into Republican election funds.

  11. What? Who are we speaking about here, Ira? I note you have no specifics. But I’ll give you two.

    Both Clinton and Sanders have called for rejection of Citizens United. Regardless of whether or not Democrats have more cash.

    1. Oh, and Ira, the Democrat Party platform calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United.

      “The Democrats’ platform, which was drafted earlier in the month in Florida, requests two new constitutional amendments.”

      “The first request is a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and Buckley v. Valeo rulings on campaign financing.”

      So good try at a straw man.

      1. Now if you only understood what CU was about…

      2. Jack, the reason they want to go back to McCain-Feingold is that it allows unlimited donations by unions, but not corporations or non-profits. That benefits Democrats. Plus, Hillary doesn’t want people to be able to band together to criticize HERSELF.

        1. Jackass likely knows this and doesn’t care. Progressive trash are hypocrites.

  12. ALL politicians tend to speak out of both sides of their mouths, but this is just one of the many that proves that the left also speaks out of their asses. When you couple the lack of similar funds, with the obviously skewed media coverage, Clinton is a sure bet for a win.

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