2016 was a surprising year in politics. One surprise that hasn’t received much attention yet is the minimal role played by “money in politics” in the presidential election. One of the best-funded candidates in history, Hillary Clinton, lost to an opponent who raised less than half of what she did. Not just that, but independent supporters of Clinton outspent those advocating for Trump nearly 3-to-1.
How did this happen? Part of the explanation is that money’s role in elections is overstated. The list of candidates whose funding advantage failed to translate into votes on Election Day is long, including Eric Cantor, Linda McMahon, David Trone, and many more. Money can’t fool voters into supporting someone they don’t want to support.
But money is certainly an important part of campaigning. Campaign spending helps candidates get their message out and introduce themselves to voters. Money pays for staff, advertising, campaign swag, office space, travel and rallies. [Read More]
[I]n terms of its practical consequences, a case like Citizens United, which was 5-4 . . . I think that’s absolutely toast, and you will start to see comprehensive regulation of various forms of speech activities by corporations and ordinary individuals and so forth . . . .
Bill Maurer from the Institute for Justice brings years of experience in campaign finance law and free speech to the latest issue of the Federalist Society Review, reviewing two of the latest books on campaign finance policy, Jane Mayer’s Dark Money and Rick Hasen’s Plutocrats United. Expertise is thankfully ubiquitous at FedSoc, but Bill’s wit is one of a kind. His review is a must-read, and be sure to set your coffee down first.
Many people are inspired by the supposed principles of campaign finance reform. These principles drewcrowds to various events around the Capitol over the last week, featuring various speeches including one froma commissioner at the Federal Election Commission. These gatherings were bolstered with tweets about democracy awakening along with signs and screeds about corporations not being people.
But up in Massachusetts, as democracy was “awakening” down here in D.C., the very result of campaign finance reform is yet again being used to fatigue—worse, to punish—the citizens who are participating in democratic elections.