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Free Minds & Free Markets

Money in Politics Apparently Isn't So Bad When Democrats Win

When Democrats spend more and win, the campaign finance advantage doesn't come up as often.

Political experts have cited many reasons for Democrat Ralph Northam's huge win in Tuesday's elections. Credit has gone to the state's changing demographics. And to high voter turnout. And to loathing for Donald Trump, which helped drive turnout. Some on the right blamed Republican Ed Gillespie not being Trumpian enough.

One explanation was conspicuous by its absence, however: money.

In the closing weeks of the campaign, Northam enjoyed a 2-1 advantage in financing: He went into October with $5.7 million in his pocket, compared to Gillespie's $2.5 million. By the time the polls closed, Northam had spent $32 million to Gillespie's $23 million.

Northam also got a lot of help. The League of Conservation Voters spent more than $1 million to help him out. Planned Parenthood's Virginia affiliate kicked in $3 million. Environmentalist Tom Steyer threw in another $2 million, Michael Bloomberg's gun control group added more than $1 million, a group affiliated with Barack Obama added $1 million more, and so on. Why hasn't this "outside money" been cited as a factor in the race—or as proof that "money buys elections"?

One possible answer: Gillespie had plenty of help, too. The NRA bought more than $1 million in TV ads for him. Americans for Prosperity contributed more than $750,000. What's more, campaign financing for the lieutenant governor and attorney general races was far more symmetrical.

Besides: Northam's victory did not occur in isolation. Democrats practically ran the table in contests for the House of Delegates.

But money was a factor in some of those contests, too. In the high-profile contest between Democrat Danica Roem, who will become the state's first transgender legislator, and Republican Bob Marshall, who will go down in history as the state's last social-issues dinosaur, Roem outspent Marshall by almost 2-1.

This doesn't mean Roem won because she spent more. Some candidates won despite spending less. But imagine the counterfactual. If Marshall had beaten Roem after outspending her by nearly 2-1, wouldn't the financial factor come up? At least once or twice?

Sure it would. Because the establishment media are practically obsessed with campaign financing—at least when the money comes from the conservative or libertarian direction, anyway. Entire library shelves groan under the weight of coverage devoted, for instance, to the Koch Brothers (David Koch is a trustee of the Reason Foundation, which publishes Reason.com). The National Rifle Association is another favorite, er, target. "Have your representatives in Congress received donations from the NRA?" The Washington Post asks—and answers the question with a handy infographic showing you just how much every representative has taken from the gun-rights group. No such district-by-district scrutiny applies to, say, Planned Parenthood—which, although it does not outspend the NRA, is still "among the nation's top political contributors," according to that far-right dishrag, The New York Times.

The difference in scrutiny is revealing, in the same way that frequent references to "the gun lobby"—but never "the abortion lobby"—are revealing. When conservative or libertarian groups support a Republican candidate, it's proof that the candidate is "in the pocket of" powerful and nefarious interests who have "bought and paid for" her support. When liberal or progressive groups contribute to a Democratic candidate, it's proof that the candidate's principled stand on important issues has earned the support of ordinary people who share her values.

That's why you will frequently read about the huge sums Dominion, Virginia's biggest utility, gives to political candidates. The company is often noted for being Virginia's "top corporate donor"—which, according to The American Prospect, "makes for a lopsided battle for its opponents." Except that those opponents actually outspend Dominion in the aggregate.

Over the past decade environmental groups have outspent Dominion by a ratio of 5:3. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) frequently gets blasted for supporting the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, and his critics rarely fail to note that Dominion, one of the pipeline's builders, gave him $75,000. He must have been bought, right? Well, no: Environmental groups gave him $3.8 million. That never seems to get mentioned. Maybe, in this case, he's actually doing what he thinks is right.

For liberals and progressives, Northam did the right thing on Tuesday: He won. Which means all the money he spent, and all the money spent by others to elect him, is nothing to get upset about. As Bradley Smith, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission who now runs the Institute for Free Speech, wrote several years ago: "Nobody on the left really believes what they always say about campaign contributions and spending... The 'reformers' do not believe money is corrupting. Rather, they believe that their political opponents are corrupt."

And big money in politics poses no threat to democracy—so long as the right team wins.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

Photo Credit: PETE MAROVICH/UPI/Newscom

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  • DJF||

    Putin could have gotten Northam elected with $23.53 and a one facebook page

  • Eidde||

    "Is said Virginia is for lovers, and we are loving Northam!"

  • NoVaNick||

    Let me guess, you don't live in Virginia. The guy isn't even governor yet.

  • jogibew||

    I'm making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life.

    This is what I do... www.netcash10.com

  • Sevo||

    That is FUNNY, DJF.

  • Tony||

    "And I still believe Hillary Clinton ran a child sex ring from a pizza shop."

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    "And I still believe $100,000 worth of hilarious animated gifs turned the tide of American Democracy, changing would-be Hillary voters into solid Trump voters."

  • Red Tony||

    So Buzzfeed elected Trump? That's pretty hilarious.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    "My completely unsupported massive conspiracy theory is just common sense, but yours is CRAAAAZY!"

  • Tony||

    Unsupported except by the intelligence agencies of the United States.

    vs. cheesy Russian bullshit Breitbart licked up and which millions of voters believe to this day, because they say so.

    You say potato potahto, I say potato potato.

  • Eidde||

    "Planned Parenthood's Virginia affiliate kicked in $3 million."

    Don't worry, their federal subsidies will ensure they will continue to be able to provide free mammograms and puppies to poor women.

  • Libertarian||

    How in the hell is it legal for the federal government to give $ to an organization that spends money on politicking?

  • colorblindkid||

    Because they have a "separate" political action organization "associated" with Planned Parenthood.

    PP works the same way public sector unions work.

    Donate millions to politicians who, when elected, give them millions more money, with which they can spend more reelecting those politicians, who then give them more money.

  • Libertarian||

    Not to mention fines assessed against corps that are directed to pp, et al.

  • Bubba Jones||

    The same way they "don't fund abortions."

  • Libertarian||

    Thank God money isn't fungible, eh?

  • Longtobefree||

    So much for corruption fighting -- -- --

  • Jerryskids||

    This was clean grassroots money raised by concerned citizens, not filthy fat-cat money from special-interest groups.

  • Eidde||

    Rich Democratic donors cannot possibly be self-interested, because the Democrats are the Party of the Poor. What personal benefit could a rich person gain from donating to the Party of the Poor? It must be pure benevolence motivating the donation, unlike with the Republicans and their policy of helping the rich.

  • NoVaNick||

    What personal benefit could a rich person gain from donating to the Party of the Poor

    It makes them feel good about themselves, no matter how big a POS they might be (see Harvey Weinstein).

  • some guy||

    It's all about having the right Principals.

  • Rich||

    The problem with money in campaigning arises from the "push", rather than "pull" of information about the candidates and issues.

    Just allow every candidate, say, $50K to run a website; and be done with it.

  • Eidde||

    Yeah, someone named "Rich" *would* say that.

  • Rich||

    Oh, very well. Allow 'em *$500*.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Better yet, stop screwing with campaign financing almost entirely. Require full disclosure, and ban foreign contributions, and otherwise let anybody who wants to, to spend their brains out.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Hmph, it's well known that progressive dollars are squeaky clean. And environmentally friendly!

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Money isn't speech, and so what if we want to regulate speech, too, because democracy can't survive free speech unless The Good Guys win.

  • mtrueman||

    "And big money in politics poses no threat to democracy—so long as the right team wins."

    Big money can have a corrupting influence.

  • Brian||

    Exactly. My question is why do people think about that during campaign finance, but not when discussing a federal budget measures in trillions.

    A multi-trillion dollar budget has a lot of corrupting influence, and that's just a step on the way to a command economy.

  • KobolCoffeeLord||

    May be problematic, considering the only command the economy appears to recognize is "stop".

  • mtrueman||

    "My question is why do people think about that during campaign finance, but not when discussing a federal budget measures in trillions."

    My tentative answer is that the money spent during campaigns is targeted at 'the people,' while the budgetary process is complicated and takes place behind closed doors.

  • Brian||

    Considering that campaigns aren't constant, and the federal budget is largely public and takes place in plain sight, that's a somewhat narrow and limited analysis.

  • mtrueman||

    "and the federal budget is largely public and takes place in plain sight"

    I don't think the corrupting influence peddlers do their budgetary things in plain sight. It is secretive. Campaign money is spent on advertising directed at voters. It is not secret and it is in plain sight.

  • Brian||

    The federal budget is a matter of public record, and if you can't look at that public record and tell the difference between corruption and non-corruption, then you're going to have a very hard time convincing anyone you know what corruption actually looks like.

  • mtrueman||

    I believe that corrupt deals are conducted on the basis of a nod and a handshake and there is no public record of the quid pro quo arrangements.

  • Brian||

    For people who understand the corrupting influence of money, the federal budget that's measured in trillions is just as public as every campaign commercial, All of which combined would only be a tiny fraction of the federal budget.

  • mtrueman||

    "All of which combined would only be a tiny fraction of the federal budget."

    I'm not sure that's true. The presidential campaign alone runs up a billion $US between the candidates, and there's also competition for seats in the upper and lower house as well as all the races for judges, governors, and local offices, if you want to consider them. It makes sense too; it strikes me as a lot easier to bribe an official before s/he is elected than once they are safely ensconced in office. Also, I doubt that the payoffs and kickbacks corrupt officials receive are on the budget but are delivered on the qt in envelopes of cash. If uncovering corrupt officials is your aim, IRS records are a much better bet than the federal budget.

  • Brian||

    mtrueman:
    "I'm not sure that's true."

    I am absolutely sure it's true, and if you'd like to disprove it, be my guest.

    The federal budget is about $4 trillion. If you think politics actually approaches that, then yours is an interesting perspective, to say the least.

  • mtrueman||

    I think you've got a different idea of what corruption is. I'm thinking of bribery and kickbacks etc. I don't think the federal budget, which covers everything from the Marine Corp Marching Band's dry-cleaning bill, to the salary of the guy who sweeps the floor at Guantanamo, isn't as nefarious as you think it is.

    Though it is big. My sources say closer to 6 trillion, twice as big (or in your words, corrupt) as the next nation on the list, Communist China.

  • Brian||

    What I'm saying is the money has a corrupting influence, and there's a lot more money in the federal budget than there is in campaign finance, and, thus, more corrupting influence.

  • mtrueman||

    Next time I'll tell my dry cleaner I'm not going to pay him because money has a corrupting influence. If I can get away with it, we may be on to something, Big Time!

  • Brian||

    It's your point: big money has a corrupting influence, you said. And the federal budget is bigger money than most. Hence, corrupting influence.

    I'm not sure why you're struggling with it now.

  • mtrueman||

    Bribing people with money is an example of corrupting influence. Buying goods and services with money is not necessarily a corrupting influence.

    Out of curiosity, have you come any closer to answering your question, "why do people think about that during campaign finance, but not when discussing a federal budget measures in trillions."
    Is it some variation of people are stupid?

  • Brian||

    You said that big money is a corrupting influence, and I agreed with you.

    If you now want to take a more nuanced and subtle view of that, then, fine. If you want to explain to me how you're wrong, go ahead. But I don't really feel like explaining how wrong you are when I'm agreeing with you.

  • mtrueman||

    "You said that big money is a corrupting influence, and I agreed with you."

    I said it can have a corrupting influence. It's not necessarily corrupt. Any word on your original question? Or lost interest?

  • Brian||

    My suspicion is that some people are inconsistent and have biased views about money and power. Such that, on the face of it, private spending on public elections brings out negative views about the general "corruption" of general "money", in a way that's completely divorced from public spending of money, where, somehow, the evil and greedy nature of materialism and money is washed away, and we suddenly have a much more nuanced and complex view of whether money and materialism is good or bad.

    Hmmmm. Let me hold my theory up to you and see if it checks out: yep.

    However, I do agree that big money can have a corrupting influence. And the federal budget is pretty big. You have me there.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Nothing is bad when it putd or keeps Demicrats in power (see Senator Menendez's suggesting he will not resign if convicted in his corruption trial).

  • Rebel Scum||

    wouldn't the financial factor come up? At least once or twice?

    Only when Team Blue is outspent and defeated. You'll note that Team Red has been outspent by at least 2:1 in the last three presidential elections.

  • Bra Ket||

    I realized long ago that there's no substantive difference between a political "expert" and some random dude talking out of his ass. They get paid to create content someone can sell or sell ads for, not to actually be right.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Back in my columnist days, I loved being loved. But I loved being hated just as much. As long as they were reading. (Of course I was always right. But that was just gravy.)

  • Entropy Drehmaschine Void||

    I hate you.

    Happy now?

  • John||

    My give a shit meter about money in politics still doesn't move, no matter whose money it is.

  • Rhywun||

    Even taxpayer money? My city just spent millions of dollars to re-elect - often unopposed - the same slate of Democrats that won four years ago.

  • John||

    Okay, not taxpayer month. That is a problem. But otherwise, I don't care.

  • dantheserene||

    I'm sure that was considered a feature.

  • mtrueman||

    Why have elections at all? It's worked so well for the Palestinians.

  • Tony||

    "Nobody on the left really believes what they always say about campaign contributions and spending... The 'reformers' do not believe money is corrupting. Rather, they believe that their political opponents are corrupt."

    This is absolutely wrong. The left is obsessed with money in politics, and to the detriment of the country it will sometimes fixate on Democrats getting money from wealthy interests to the exclusion of concern for winning an election. See 2016.

    But I'm not even sure that Democrats being forced to play the game Republicans invented even counts as hypocrisy. You guys think unlimited campaign spending by wealthy interests is "free speech." So what are you bitching about exactly?

  • Sevo||

    "But I'm not even sure that Democrats being forced to play the game Republicans invented"

    Folks, he'll be here all week.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Republicans invented the idea of paid advertisements? That's a strange and inaccurate statement.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That lefties are hypocrites is the critique.

    Typical blame game by Democrats. "We (Democrats) are just out spending the Republicans because they started it". The Democratic Party has been around for much longer than the GOP and they continually get more money from suckers. Yet Republican almost control 2/3 of state Legislatures which will allow amendments to the Constitution to curtail further takeover of the USA by lefties.

    I have never and will never give money to a political group. Not even the Libertarian Party. I will donate my time, if I feel that I need to but so far, no politician has earned anything more than just me showing up to vote.

    Someday, the elites will realize that spending millions on elections does not get them what they want and we'll get back to only relatively small amounts being spent on politicians.

  • Tony||

    So in order to avoid their terrible hypocrisy, they should be good citizens and concede all elections to the people who invented crony politics and don't criticize it. At least they're not hypocrites!

  • Mickey Rat||

    What was Tammany Hall?

  • Sevo||

    What *IS* the SF city government, the Chi city government, the CA state government?

  • MarkLastname||

    Tony was just being metaphorical. And by metaphorical, I mean wrong.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    "people who invented crony politics and don't criticize it"
    I am glad you acknowledge that is the Democrats too.

  • Brian||

    It's hypocrisy until Ayn Rand drawing social security and libertarians driving on ROADZ isn't hypocrisy.

  • Jordan||

    How did Republicans "invent" accepting campaign donations?

  • Tony||

    Read the professional history of Newt Gingrich and you'll find the origin of pretty much everything fucked up about American politics.

  • BYODB||

    Why talk so much shit about the guy that made Bill Clinton look competent? Not that I like Newt, but a lot of good things that Clinton gets credited for was the result of Newt.

  • Tony||

    Because he invented modern political corruption as we know it?

  • BYODB||

    That's laughable. Were you even a toddler during the Clinton administration?

    How about Bush 1, or Ronald Raegan, or Nixon, or Carter?

    'Modern' political corruption is the same as it's ever been.

  • stuartl||

    When the Republicans are corrupt it is modern political corruption. When the Democrats are corrupt it is good old fashioned corruption.

    See? There is a big difference.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    You mean when FDR put Japanese-Americans into concentration camps?

    You mean when Hillary Clinton (D)
    CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $563,756,928
    OUTSIDE MONEY: $231,118,680
    and she still lost to Trump. MAGA!

    Then there's Gary Johnson (L)
    CANDIDATE COMMITTEE MONEY: $11,983,980
    OUTSIDE MONEY: $1,386,971

  • NoVaNick||

    Pay for play is an invention of urban democrats going back at least to the early 1900s.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    That's why there is no silent majority with Democrats. The left causes some outrage and then tells the Democrat suckers that they need money to win. Then Democrats still lose most times.

  • Rhywun||

    So you're on board with greatly reducing the power of government over our lives? Because that is how you get money out of politics.

  • Tony||

    You people always regurgitate this stupid bullcrap like it actually means something. How fascinating.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    MONEY ISN'T SPEECH IT'S JUST MONEY SO WE CAN JUS BAN ANYTHJNG WE WANT HARDEE HAR DERPYDERP!!!!!1!1!1!!1SLOGANZ!!!!!!1!1!!1

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "You people always regurgitate this stupid bullcrap like it actually means something. How fascinating."

    Translation: Tony cannot refute it.

  • Tony||

    Money in politics will cease being a problem when we simply cut out the middleman and let the wealthy interests run everything!

    Libertarianism, ladies and gentlemen.

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    We'll put an end to corruption once we give a few hundred powerful politicians the power to repeal free speech.

    Democrats now!!!!!!!!!1!1!1!!1! DERP!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Tony is like an unopened box of Dixon Ticonderogas: he's missing every point.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony, that's cronyism and that is what we have now.

    The people running everything through small government would fix the problem mostly.

  • DesigNate||

    The wealthy interests already run everything, moron.

  • MarkLastname||

    By 'rum everything' you mean 'broadcast their opinions without restriction.' One only means the other if you believe most voters are retarded drones who will vote for whoever throws the most ads at them. And if you believe that you should oppose democracy in any form as the will of the majority means shit.

    And even if this is the case, absent rich people buying advertisements, it's just (corporate) media outlets dictating how people vote. Why is that any better?

  • Rhywun||

    The whole point of "buying" an election is hoping to make a profit off it. This is accomplished with the power that government has to take money from some people and give it to other people. Is it really that hard to understand?

  • DesigNate||

    It is when you're a brain dead partisan hack like Tony.

  • Tony||

    Taking money from some people and giving it to other people is what governments do. It's like the only thing they do when you get down to it.

    So what happens when we go to anarchy as you suggest? Wealthy interests stop wanting power? Or is it simply that much easier to seize?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    When power has devolved in the direction of being wielded by every individual solely over his or her own affairs, what is there for wealthy interests to buy?

  • Tony||

    You guys are so cute.

    If only people behaved in a way completely alien to how humans naturally behave, the world would be great!

  • Citizen X - #6||

    A less intellectually shallow person might've thought about it more, but bitchy snark is technically a response too, i guess.

  • DesigNate||

    I know right?!

    Now, how do we build the New Soviet Man comrade?

  • Rhywun||

    Wealthy interests turn to being productive instead of taking money from people who didn't consent to it? If you're scared of wealthy interests having power, you should want to reduce the power of government because a wealthy person has no control over you except via the government.

  • Tony||

    I must have whatever you're dranking. Jesus fuck.

    Nobody would rape or murder without government either, I suppose.

  • Rhywun||

    It's been fun playing but your constantly shifting the goalposts & putting words in my mouth is getting tiresome. Good day.

  • DesigNate||

    You should really file a police report if a cabal of wealthy interests are in your house controlling you.

  • BYODB||

    A government empowered to regulate markets is a government worth buying.

    Notably, Steyer et. al. on the Democrat side are no better or worse than those on the right pulling the same shit. They're all vying for the government to intervene in their favor.

    The only way to reach the ends that you seem to believe are good ends is to remove the government's ability to choose winners or losers (I.E. regulatory scheme's that you love, even while you're blind to the results). As long as that is left in place, you will see rent seeking from both sides.

    This is what is known as a 'fact'.

  • Tony||

    Then the winners become simply the most unscrupulous actors in the market. I'm not saying anarchy wouldn't be bad for business, but it would be very good for evildoers.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    With small government, the only people interested in politics would be people who public servants because you wouldn't be able to get rich quick off government.

    Politicians would do their 2-4-6 years and leave office while being part time politicians in office.
    Oh yeah, we should make all political office part-time except for governors and the president.

  • BYODB||

    I didn't think you believed in 'evil' as a concept, Tony. How does 'evil' fit into moral relativism for you?

    And it's not like the winners stay the same. The parties switch places, and the 'winners' change as well.

    It's really not that complex.

  • Tony||

    It is very easy indeed. You don't like people breaking the rules, so do away with the rules. Problem solved.

  • BYODB||

    What rules are being broken, exactly?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    As opposed to government, which is strictly a meritocracy. This is known.

  • Zeb||

    There is a lot of room between anarchy and what we have now. Stop acting like those are the only possible states of affairs.

    You can have a government that punishes evil doers without imposing lots of economic regulations and restrictions on everyone.

  • Mickey Rat||

    Like that great Democrat Sheldon Silver said at his corruption trial, graft is just how government gets things done.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    "But I'm not even sure that Democrats being forced to play the game Republicans invented"

    Well let's see.

    The Democratic party existed before the Republican was created so that means the Republicans couldn't have "invented" it.

  • Tony||

    Wow. Slow clap for the logic in this one.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Gilbert Martin just assumed you would leave your lefty bias aside and know that Democrats were corrupt before the GOP was even around.

    The Democrats owned slaves, so of course they wanted to rig the game.

  • Tony||

    You should be asking why the party that started out on abolition devolved into the Nazi-courting freakshow it is today.

  • Gilbert Martin||

    Poor Tony.

    The Nazis were leftists - just like you.

  • Red Tony||

    Ya know, there's a Washington Post editorial on the day Reagan assumed office in 1981 declaring it basically a Nazi takeover of the country.

    That date is closer to the close of WWII than it is to the modern day.

    Over the last thirty-six years, the left has done more to lower the usefulness of "Nazi" as an insult than they have to discredit Republicans.

  • Tony||

    Sorry, I was referring specifically to the current Republican president's actual courting of actual Nazis.

    But gold star for the GOP for taking so long to actually literally embrace actual Nazis in public?

  • loveconstitution1789||

    National Socialist German Workers Party. NSDAP or Nazi.

    Key word "socialist".

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    National Socialists weren't Socialists!

    Why can't you stupid Nazis get that?

  • MarkLastname||

    That's funny, considering that not only is it false, but it was FDR Democrats (including FDR's own advisers) that courted fascists in the 1930s and often praised and sought to emulate their policies.

    It must rankle you idiots that see anyone right of Mao as a Nazi that your favorite president was the closest thing to a fascist dictator the US ever actually had.

  • Tony||

    But he accomplished a lot. If we're going to have a fascist dictator, I'll take the FDR model over the insane incontinent orange moron model.

  • Mock-star||

    Shorter Tony: Only Fascists who get things done are worth a damn!

  • JuanQPublic||

    But I'm not even sure that Democrats being forced to play the game Republicans invented even counts as hypocrisy.

    This is such a colossal denial of reality, it's really hard to know where to start.

    So, Bernie Sanders, who raised his campaign money entirely through small donations, became a threat to the Clinton/DNC establishment that was "forced to play the game", to the point that the DNC worked overtime to marginalize his campaign.

    Whether Sanders was worth supporting isn't the point here, either. The point is that your statement really illustrates how much blind partisanship is a much bigger threat to the wellbeing of the public than campaign spending from the wealthy.

    Your statement is nothing short of amazing, especially as populism in 2016 has demonstrated that nobody has been "forced to play the game".

  • Tony||

    Yeah and I've been trying to warn progressives that if they will only support candidates who can generate a cult following of college students, they're going to lose every election. Bernie lost even with his cult.

    Is the argument really that it's OK that Republicans take and spend untold billions in plutocratic interests' money because they don't have a policy position against it? And meanwhile, because Democrats do, they should simply refuse to take anyone's money and lose every election on principle?

  • JuanQPublic||

    Downplaying the threat of Sanders winning isn't very persuasive. The Clinton DNC (one in the same, literally) had to reach deep into their resources to stop Sanders, and many on the Clinton train actually blamed Sanders for Hillary's loss. Poll after poll clearly showed Sanders in a far better position to defeat Trump, as he actually mobilized voters. Whether we agree with Sanders's platform isn't the point.

    The point is that 2016 proved that your ridiculous point that the Democrats somehow unwillingly participate in leveraging wealthy interests rings senselessly hollow.

  • Tony||

    Well, Democrats consistently include campaign finance reform in their platform and constantly bitch about all the time they have to spend fundraising.

    Sanders sold in college towns and caucuses. He lost the primary by 4 million votes. The primary. That's called a landslide. Will his followers ever stop with this projection? Not enough people liked Bernie. Sorry. That's what losing means in politics.

  • Red Tony||

    But rigging an election does not reflect well on the Democrats, which is why Berniebros are still so bitchy.

  • Tony||

    I heard enough Russian horseshit during the election, thanks.

  • ||

    Not enough people liked Bernie.

    Why do you keep lying about that? I thought your whole point was victory for Team Blue at any cost. What's so special about HRC that you're willing to embrace defeat in order to never criticize her in any way?

    Why isn't your tune "dammit HRC stole the nomination from Sanders and fucked up and lost to Trump?" Because it's really obvious to nearly everyone else in the world that that's exactly what happened.

  • Tony||

    Maybe I don't feel like piling on to what is already a mountain of bitchy criticism based on mostly lies and hysterical exaggerations at best. And I don't feel like joining the truth circle in the service of what amounts to bone-deep, pathological sexism.

    By "not enough people liked Bernie" I simply mean that he lost the election. And without stupid unrepresentative caucuses he'd have lost it by a lot more.

  • MarkLastname||

    So, Bernie supporters didn't like Hillary just because they were sexist?

    I'm impressed that you even sand bag your own kind. I guess there's some consistency in you. Are you just allergic to even trying to make a valid argument. Does anything other than ad hominem make you break out in hives?

  • ||

    Maybe I don't feel like piling on to what is already a mountain of bitchy criticism based on mostly lies and hysterical exaggerations at best. And I don't feel like joining the truth circle in the service of what amounts to bone-deep, pathological sexism.

    What in Sam Hell are you talking about?

    By "not enough people liked Bernie" I simply mean that he lost the election. And without stupid unrepresentative caucuses he'd have lost it by a lot more.

    No - he lost the primary. As I've pointed out to you repeatedly, it's pretty well undeniable at this point that he would have won the general if HRC/DNC hadn't elbowed him out of the way.

    Since the only consistency you have ever shown here is blind support for Team Blue, I don't understand your take on this. Team Blue lost because of HRC. Team Blue would have won had HRC stepped aside and let Sanders have the nomination.

    Why is Sanders so unacceptable to you that you prefer Trump?

  • Incomprehensible Bitching||

    Tony:
    "Maybe I don't feel like piling on to what is already a mountain of bitchy criticism...."

    Of course that's it.

  • dantheserene||

    yeah, and we all know what they mean when they say "campaign finance reform".

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Democrats have been losing for years. The GOP controls almost 3/4 of the state Legislatures.

    Nobody wants socialism anymore and we will be moving away from it over Trump's 8 years as president.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Funny how most of those plutocrats donate to and support democrats. But that's different.

  • Red Tony||

    Well ya know, that's pretty much the argument for why libertarians can't use the roads or why Ayn Rand can't go on Social Security.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    You aren't arguing honestly until you accept the fact that Democrats lately almost always outspend Republicans, and yet are in the minority at every level of power today.

    The facts destroy your entire argument at base fucking one. This would be humiliating, if you maintained the capacity for shame at this late date.

    If I were to make your argument, it would be the stupidest I had ever endeavored to make. As it is, it's not in your top 25 on just this board.

  • ||

  • Tony||

    Oh you mean the guy Trump gave tongue baths to in the hopes of damaging the eventual actual nominee and who never got a minute of bad press all year had better head-to-head poll numbers?

    Well polls never change, so darn we really missed out on the Bernie presidency.

    Seriously I'd have to choke that vote down, so I can kind of understand the frustrations of the Bernie weirdos. Is it not relevant that he would have absolutely made a terrible president?

  • ||

    Seriously I'd have to choke that vote down, so I can kind of understand the frustrations of the Bernie weirdos. Is it not relevant that he would have absolutely made a terrible president?

    There weren't any good options this time. But you've never cared before about anything other than the letter after the candidates' name.

    In fact, you've been lecturing us for years that we all only have two choices and to pick someone who can't beat the Evil Candidate is the exact same thing as supporting the Evil Candidate.

    The polls were exit polls, largely - what do you think would have changed? You think there was no negative publicity about Sanders? You still make a point of hurling around baseless accusations of sexism and your silly little 'Bernie-bro" narratives from last year.

    You seem to be getting some ego-based charge out of taking a dismissive attitude toward Sanders, but why? Why suddenly do your "principles" trump pragmatism such that you're willing to support the candidate who couldn't win over the one who could've?

    By your own logic stated again and again over the years, doesn't this make you essentially a Trump supporter?

  • Tony||

    Bernie was an unwitting agent of the Russians. That is known. His followers formed a cult around him--never a good idea in politics, especially when their holy text is a bunch of horseshit about Clinton being an evil Wall Street Goldman Sachs something something rah rah. Not a fan of the Bernie bros. Genuine fan of Mrs. Clinton. I thought she'd make a good president. I thought she wouldn't be permitted to be thanks to neverending Republican nihilism and hysteria, but better than what we got now.

  • ||

    You're ignoring the salient point, which was:

    In fact, you've been lecturing us for years that we all only have two choices and to pick someone who can't beat the Evil Candidate is the exact same thing as supporting the Evil Candidate.

    You respond with:

    Genuine fan of Mrs. Clinton. I thought she'd make a good president. I thought she wouldn't be permitted to be thanks to neverending Republican nihilism and hysteria

    So now you're saying that you voted for someone you knew would lose because principles, when one year ago today you were passionately arguing that those asshole moral purists who wanted to vote Sanders or Johnson or Stein threw the election to Evil because they couldn't accept the pragmatic necessity of voting HRC.

    Make up your damned mind already!

    Bernie was an unwitting agent of the Russians. That is known.

    Wow. That's just . . . idiotic. Do you listen to yourself? Do these things sound cool in your brain when you rehearse them? Because when they come out of your mouth, you just sound borderline crazy.

  • Brian||

    Tony: "Is the argument..."

    I'm pretty sure the argument is that, whenever democrats win, they act like the "voice of the people has spoken" regardless of their funding advantage, and it's only when they lose that it's "OMG look what Citizens United did to us, man!"

    Almost as if democracy becomes meaningless precisely when they lose. I'm sure the convenience of that is purely coincidental.

  • Tony||

    I'll settle with "Democrats keep getting the most votes for the presidency and for Congress by the millions but lose out on that democratic mandate because Republicans rigged the system in their own favor."

    If Democrats kept winning against the will of the people you guys would be shitting your pants about it.

  • Brian||

    You can't change your mind after a football game and say the only points that count are rushing yards.

    Similarly, you can't run Hillary Clinton as the most professional wonderful woman evah and then turn around and bitch about how our elections work. If we had a popular vote, everyone would have known that, and everyone's voting behavior could change. You really don't get to travel back in time, change the rules, and pretend everyone does exactly the same thing.

    Not without being a whiny little game-playing bitch about it, anyway. But, what else is left now?

    Always something to bitch about. I'm sure this government stuff will start working right any day now. And that says nothing about how awesome the institution is, now, does it? Of course not.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Looks like Reason struck a nerve.

  • Sevo||

    "Environmentalist Tom Steyer threw in another $2 million."

    Mr. Hinkle misspelled "hypocrite"
    "Steyer has focused of late on the ostensibly pernicious effects of money in politics as he pours more money than any other individual into federal elections."
    http://thefederalist.com/2016/.....ll-rights/

  • NoVaNick||

    Northam did not take any position on the pipeline that Steyer is freaking out about. But apparently knows that its better to have a useful idiot as governor with a bunch of progs in the assembly to do his bidding for him. Look for Virginia to become the next California in 5-10 years.

  • dantheserene||

    NVN-
    Bite your tongue.

  • sarcasmic||

    When the left wins it is The Will Of The People. Doesn't matter how much money was spent by whom.

    When the left loses then it was because they were outspent by the evil rich who support their opponents. Even if they weren't outspent, they still lost because of money or the Russians or whatever.

    Because the left represents The Will Of The People. Win or lose. So when they lose, the winner cheated.

  • creech||

    Unfortunately, the left is increasingly representing the Will of the People. Free Shit is more popular than ever and more voters than ever think government can give them more and the cost will fall on someone else. Having feckless opponents who settle for leaders who behave like thirteen year olds in the locker-room doesn't hurt either.

  • Rhywun||

    America's complete economic collapse is going to hurt but we might as well get it over with so we can begin afresh. Vote Democrat!

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I always tell people to look at motivations. Why do the Democrats want to win so bad? To steal money from taxpayers, so they can become wealthy and recoup what they spent on the elections.

    Why do Republicans want to be in office so bad? To become wealthy and tell people what to do.

  • sarcasmic||

    As far as I can tell, the only difference between Democrats and Republicans is what parts of our lives they want to control.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yup.

    Both parties now are fine with raising the debt ceiling and not really cutting back the federal budget. The Democrats just have nobody that will cut the welfare state. The GOP has a small contingent that are for cutting parts of the budget but are probably still scared to cut the welfare state.

    Libertarians and Rand Paul are really the only types of politicians that would gut budgets.

  • CGN||

    That is patently false. However, The notion that we should cut government at all levels HUGELY is a good one. Dems are the "winners" when it comes to controlling citizens (You can keep your insurance if you like it, anybody?!!?) so quit lying about Repubs, however horrible, are even a REMOTE match for dictatorial behavior. FDR wanted to pack the SC so all of what he wanted would be a cinch for him. Remember what party he was from?!!!?

  • JuanQPublic||

    When the left wins it is The Will Of The People. Doesn't matter how much money was spent by whom.

    This point can't be said enough. It's the huge elephant in the room for the Democratic Party.

  • NoVaNick||

    Sure, the left buys elections too-they also bought Terry McAuliffe's win in 2013 here. If the dems win back congress in 2018, expect all complaints about money in politics and gerrymandering to go silent until the GOP wins again.

  • colorblindkid||

    NYT has a piece out today about Andrew Cuomo raising 25 million dollars in the last year. 99% of donations are over $1000. For a 6 month period last year, not a single one was for under $200.

    If anything should have shut down the left's stupid campaign finance obsessions it was the 2016 election, where their candidate vastly outspent her opponent and had the support of nearly every media outlet and corporation.

  • Tony||

    Trump got an estimated $5 billion in free media.

  • BYODB||

    And how much of that was 'good press' one might ask. (Or where you even got that citation from. I'd be curious myself.)

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    So, way smarter than Hillary?

  • Tony||

    You never go broke betting on Americans being dumbfucks.

  • BYODB||

    Which is amusing, since you like to point at how Hillary 'won' the popular vote.

    Whoopsie.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    That's gonna leave a mark.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    lulz

    This is the kind of post Tony has never, ever responded to.

  • Tony||

    How do you respond to a joke that fails because of flaw in logic? Did I say every single American was a dumbfuck? No, I said that Trump is president because there were enough dumbfucks to vote for him.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Actually what you said was this: "You never go broke betting on Americans being dumbfucks."

    Not this: "No, I said that Trump is president because there were enough dumbfucks to vote for him."

    All lefties are dumbfucks, is my statement.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    I agree. There a millions of lefty dumbfuck Americans out there.

  • MarkLastname||

    And yet you still believe the will of the majority should dictate what rights you have.

  • CGN||

    Hillary's own handlers have commented upon her stupidity and her growing inability to manage to come off as even remotely able to do a job such as the Secretary of State. , never mind President.

  • NoVaNick||

    And how much free media did Hillary get, Tony? It's not like she was a nobody.

  • Tony||

    This estimate puts his free media figure over the course of his campaign more than Clinton, Sanders, Cruz, and Rubio combined.

    I'm not saying that's good or bad, I'm saying Trump didn't "spend less," he simply got more free shit.

  • BYODB||

    And in this case, 'free shit' represents unfavorable media mentions.

  • Tony||

    Mostly rubbernecking on a freakshow. They didn't get real negative until he started bragging about raping women and insulting the parents of dead soldiers.

    And may I add, poor Donald.

    You people don't even realize when you're doing this, huh?

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    Funny how you don't count all the free media team blue got in previous elections (or how much it will get in the future).

  • BYODB||


    They didn't get real negative until he started bragging about raping women and insulting the parents of dead soldiers.

    False. Trump has been a running joke since the first time he ran for office. Amusingly, this appears to be the reason why the Democrats wanted Trump to win the nomination. They figured him winning the nomination would cinch a win for Democrats. Whoopsie, that backfired pretty badly.

    His election was only a year ago, pretending like we don't remember what happened is pretty stupid. If you want to convince people that Trump was loved, or at least not hated, before the election you'd probably need to try talking to pre-schoolers. They're the only one's with a short enough memory to buy what you're selling.

  • CGN||

    Yes, Trump WAS a joke, but so were all the other candidates. Bernie was and is a Commie, Biden was and is an also ran, and Hillary was and is a pathological liar, and, Yale notwithstanding, a dope. The emails from her handlers which were discovered prove the same.

  • Red Tony||

    I wouldn't be so sure. The one thing Bernie had going for him was that despite being nuts he seemed honestly nuts, unlike Clinton or Trump who both seemed to be narcissistic pathological liars. And Biden was at least likable, which can't really be said about Clinton, and a lot of people would argue Trump's pretty damn unlikable.

  • dantheserene||

    B-
    Where's that clip of John Oliver begging Trump to win and offering to contribute to his campaign?

  • Tony||

    If you're claiming that Hillary's email coverage etc. wasn't more negative to her than Trump's freakshow coverage, you are lying or your brain has been pickled.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    You mean the 'matter', not the 'investigation'.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Hillary's mishandling of classified information crime was not why she lost the election.

    She lost because she has a long history of being a horrible politician and person. Trump was a better choice and the voters chose the better presidential candidate.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    It wasn't "free media" because Trump would have never bought that much media coverage. He didn't need to.

    Trump was going to win no matter what the lefties did or didn't do. Sanders would have lost. Biden would have lost. Kaine would have lost.

  • NoVaNick||

    Uncle Joe or Bernie could have beaten Trump, definitely not Kaine though-he's too wussy.

  • CGN||

    Nonsense! Bernie was and is a Commie, and NO ONE would have voted for him, outside the benighted denizens of Vermont, and perhaps not even them. Joe Biden?!!? Really?!!!? Good God, Wiley Coyote would have had a better chance!

  • Tony||

    So Clinton was obviously the best candidate since she only lost by 100,000-odd votes in a couple swing states. Either that or you're a psychic.

  • CGN||

    She lost. That and ONLY that is the important fact.

  • Sevo||

    "So Clinton was obviously the best candidate since she only lost by 100,000-odd votes in a couple swing states."

    That's what's known as bullshit, folks.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Tony|11.13.17 @ 1:05PM|#
    "So Clinton was obviously the best candidate since she only lost by 100,000-odd votes in a couple swing states. Either that or you're a psychic."
    Clinton lost because the majority of voters in all the states that chose Trump over Hillary decided it. Trump was the better candidate in the USA and he won.

    California and NY voters felt Hillary was the better candidate and Hillary lost because winning Commifornia and NY does not a winner make.

  • NoVaNick||

    Trump knew how to use the media to his advantage for sure and the media gave it to him. If the dems had run a celebrity candidate, perhaps it wouldn't have been so unequal. But the big thing for Trump was that he knew there are a lot of people out there who wanted to vote for a fucking asshole who would get things done, so this is his unique talent that he used, and not a fault of the system.

  • Tony||

    It's the fault of anyone who thought his clown show had anything to do with the job of being president.

  • NotAnotherSkippy||

    As opposed to the kleptocrat who has been a failure in all of her previous jobs.

  • CGN||

    Great and on spot comment, Not Another!

  • Tony||

    So you do have a problem with kleptocrats? What about the Russian ones shoveling this bullshit into your ears?

  • Sevo||

    "It's the fault of anyone who thought his clown show had anything to do with the job of being president."
    It's fortunate we didn't get the alternative; we know this, since the silverware hasn't been stolen from the White House.
    BTW, Tony, how much did Bubba get for renting out the Lincoln bedroom? Was it a sort of and Airbnb deal, or did he get a Motel 6 franchise?
    Hey, Tony! YOU LOST, loser.

  • Sevo||

    "This estimate puts his free media figure over the course of his campaign more than Clinton, Sanders, Cruz, and Rubio combined."

    That's no "estimate"; it's complete and total bullshit.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    "I'm not saying that's good or bad, I'm saying Trump didn't "spend less," he simply got more free shit."

    Ok...well, I'm saying that you just typed a retarded sentence.

    Trump DID spend less. As an actual fact. Beyond rational dispute. I know from years of reading your stupidity that you don't have a good grasp on how spending OR logic work, but this is just sad.

  • MarkLastname||

    He did spend less. You're just twisting yourself to get around the fact that it refutes your idiotic narrative.

    Are you trying to argue that the media should be subject to campaign finance regulation? That we should cap how much the NYT can spend promoting leftism around election time? Because if not, what's your point?

  • Sevo||

    Tony|11.13.17 @ 12:32PM|#
    "Trump got an estimated $5 billion in free media."

    Tony, that stinks, which is no surprise, since you just pulled it out of your ass.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    "The predominant media colluding with your opponent to manipulate the election process is the same thing as spending hundreds of millions of dollars on ads promoting you" can now join "Morality comes from the state", "It's not wrong if the government does it", "You might get pregnant from being run over by a truck" and "If you knew anything about science, you would just take scientists' words as indisputable gospel" in the pantheon of Great Moments in Tonyism.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    "The predominant media colluding with your opponent to manipulate the election process is the same thing as spending hundreds of millions of dollars on ads promoting you" can now join "Morality comes from the state", "It's not wrong if the government does it", "You might get pregnant from being run over by a truck" and "If you knew anything about science, you would just take scientists' words as indisputable gospel" in the pantheon of Great Moments in Tonyism.

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    Squirrels double-posted me - I guess that means that I actually typed my message twice, and it had twice the effect.

  • ||

    Trump got an estimated $5 billion in free media.

    Largely at the behest of John Podesta and the DNC, IIRC.

  • Mickey Rat||

    How much did Clinton get? Especially obsequiously fawning coverage?

  • Brian||

    Tony:

    Trump got an estimated $5 billion in free media.

    Which was according to Hillary's plan to take the focus off of her scandals, as well as positioning herself against the most negative opponent she could have, and then trying to amplify those negatives as much as possible, free of charge.

    It worked out great, didn't it?

    You'll be bitching until the end of time over that one.

  • CGN||

    The real problem is NOT too much, or the wrong kind of money in politics. The real problem is that there is WAY too much government. Government AT ALL LEVELS should be cut in half at least, if not more. Most federal governmental offices are completely useless, if not harmful. The Dept. of Education, as many have said, has not educated a single person, nor appreciably increased schools' ability to do so. The DEA could be shuttered this moment, anything bad would happen, and lots of good would. If the money the Labor Dept. spend was given in equal parts to all the unemployed. The payroll of the almost 16,000 employees of that department alone would allow most if not all unemployed people to keep going until they got a new job. Additionally, the lowering of the cost (which businesses and individual taxpayers finance) of he DOL would put a huge amount of cash in employers and employees pockets. And since the DOL, like the DEA, have never done anything to REMOTELY prove their worth, especially at the cost of having them, eliminating them would be a boon to all but the worthless employees of both departments.

  • Robert||

    Sure, but how can you do any of that cutting-in-half-or-more w/o $?

  • Azathoth!!||

    Money in politics is okay, and pedophilia is okay, and colluding with Russians is okay, and cheating in elections is okay--hell, even rape is okay--so long as there's a 'D' after your name, or you're kissing the right leftist and progressive ass and the crime you're committing benefits the left.

    And all reason can do is blather about 'whataboutism'.

    'Whataboutism'? We're not even pretending to intellectualism by calling it 'tu quoque' anymore?

    And it's not a fallacy--you can't demand that people follow rules that you set that you refuse to follow yourself

  • Tony||

    What Democrat touched children and then went on to have the support of Democrats in office or Reason magazine?

    Why is everyone here doing nothing but defending Trump and Moore?

  • Eek Barba Durkle||

    "What Democrat touched children and then went on to have the support of Democrats in office"

    Joe Biden.

    Man, that shit was eeeeeasssyy.

  • Philadelphia Collins||

    Roman Polanski for starters.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Anthony Wiener.

    Jacob Schwartz, 29, was an up-and-coming young Democrat who worked on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's staff until he was arrested in May on child pornography charges.

    Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) is currently on trial facing federal corruption charges, which started in 2012 over allegations that he and another man were having sex with underage prostitutes.

    Jeffrey Epstein

    Eric Massa, Representative (D-NY), resigned to avoid an ethics investigation into his admitted groping and tickling of multiple male staffers.

    David Wu, Representative (D-OR), resigned from the House of Representatives after being accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward a fundraiser's daughter.

    Mel Reynolds, Representative (D-IL), resigned from Congress in 1995 after a conviction for statutory rape

    Brock Adams, Senator (D-WA), was accused by eight women of committing various acts of sexual misconduct, ranging from sexual harassment to rape

  • MarkLastname||

    Pff, none of that really happened; the Russians fabricated all of it. Also, Monica Lewinsky never existed and JFK was actially a faithful husband. The Russians made that stuff up too. You're so gullible.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Fun fact: JFK had hookers brought into the White House and he was addicted to pain killers from a back injury from PT109 sinking.

    We woundn't find adultery that bad today but JFK also had an affair with multiple women outside his marriage, including Marilyn Monroe.

    JFK was just a bad president, like Obama, Boosh, Nixon, LBJ, FDR, Wilson, Bill Clinton, and Johnson.

  • Tony||

    "Who?" say Democrats in office.

  • Brian||

    Ahem, those goal posts?

  • mtrueman||

    "Anthony Wiener.

    Jacob Schwartz..."
    (et al, ad nauseum)

    Are you seriously telling me that you can't even come up with the name of even one woman pervert in the entire Democratic Party? Or you're just another of these self-hating men, blaming them for all that's wrong with the world in which we live in?

  • MarkLastname||

    Plenty of people here - myself included - have been shitting on Moore for sometime. You just insist on making things up it seems instead of observing reality. You have a boundless capacity for self delusion; I guess that's a skill of sorts.

  • Tony||

    You can just say "delusion."

  • ||

    Ha - and Tony unwittingly reveals his fundamental solipsism.

  • Paul Sand||

    I get it that ABH found it telling that you get a lot more hits searching the nytimes.com domain for "gun lobby" than you do for "abortion lobby".

    Interestingly, the results are similar for reason.com.

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