This may not be the most relevant thing to talk about two weeks before the Iowa primary, but I just get so infuriated when people say “Well, Hillary raised more money than Trump—so money can’t buy victory.”
I absolutely HATE when Republicans keep bringing up that Clinton raised more money than Trump, and I have to poke holes in this false narrative–which is almost always used as some half-assed attempt to discount the influence of big money on politics.
I hate it for so many reasons…
1. Hillary DID win the 2016 election. People saying “Well, money in politics doesn’t guarantee victory.” She got the most votes…in ANY election on planet Earth besides POTUS and it’s singular electoral college system, this would be a win.
2. In 90% of American races, the person who spends the most money wins. This is ESPECIALLY true for local races where money makes a huge difference. If you raise 5 times more money than your opponent, you can buy TV ads—they can’t. You can buy FB or newspaper ads—they can’t. You can pay people to go door to door handing out pamphlets—they can’t. It absolutely makes a difference and is the single most reliable indicator of who will win an election.
3. With dark money we actually have NO IDEA how much money was actually spent for each candidate. Trump won’t admit that the Russians spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help him, and if you haven’t been living under a rock you know the “collusion” debate that’s been raging. The Koch Brothers supposedly raised more than a billion dollars for the 2016 elections, and even though they claim to have spent most of that on local or congressional races—who knows? It’s dark money…as in the campaigns themselves have no idea that various parties are helping them or hurting them. The Russians could spend a billionaire dollars on Facebook ads (nothing for them) and the campaign isn’t counting that on its financial statements for obvious reasons—nor is it being spent by a traditional Super-PAC nor is a traditional Super-PAC supposed to coordinate with a campaign in the first place.
4. “Well Hillary spent all her time fundraising whereas Trump was actually doing big rallies.” She HAD to because she was running against a literal billionaire. If Trump had wanted to float himself 10 million—he could’ve done it with a snap of a finger. [Not to mention his initial cabinet was the wealthiest in American history, with those 16 people being worth more than the bottom 50% of Americans combined—and nearly all of them donated money to him.] The Clintons don’t have that kind-of cash. More recently, Kamala Harris had to suspend her campaign because she can’t compete fundraising wise with billionaires like Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg who are buying their way onto the debate stage and bombarding the airwaves with commercials for themselves which jacks up the price of TV ads. You simply can’t make the case that being a billionaire is not a huge advantage in fundraising.
5. The American Presidency is a complete outlier. Candidates run for nearly two years—they’re on TV and various other media for months and months. They have three nationally televised general election debates and seemingly a dozen primary debates. It’s EXTREMELY hard to not know about the two candidates running…you basically have to live in a cave and the cave has no wifi. Obviously, for local races that’s not the case, and the candidate who has less money can’t buy TV ads or bombard the airwaves or facebook with ads. So yes, money DOES buy victories in politics.