Money makes the world go around
Nearly a year ago, when everyone was celebrating the Democratic candidates' fundraising prowess, I was not celebrating. While it's great that the Republicans can no longer buy our elections, it's not great that Democrats now can. It's not great that anyone can. It's not great that we political junkies are even concerned with campaign financing. It's a perversion of the very concept of Democracy. And please spare me the myth that the Democrats' money is somehow more clean. When you're raising tens of millions of dollars from bundlers, you're going to be paying attention to what they want from you. That the Republicans are worse is no comfort.
So, it was no surprise that the final two Democrats left standing were the best-financed. And it's no surprise that Barack Obama is now burying Hillary Clinton in a flood of money. His huge win in Wisconsin, the margin of which seemingly so surprised everyone, was coincidentally accompanied by his outspending her five-to-one, on television! And now everyone is marveling at Obama's success in closing the gaps in Ohio and Texas, as if it's all due to his superior personality, message, and ground game. Perhaps this, from FirstRead, might also be a factor:
Watching local TV here in Ohio, it feels like Obama has a 4-to-1 advantage -- with SEIU, UFCW and Obama just blitzing the airwaves compared with Clinton. It's happening in all four states. In fact, per TV ad expert Evan Tracey, Obama has outspent Clinton $23 million to $14 million in the last 30 days. How is she expected to hold a big lead if she gets outspent this badly? The third party groups are like salt in the Clinton wound.
And this, from Ben Smith:
On the Clinton side, Mandy Grunwald that between Obama's own spending and two unions spending on his behalf, Clinton is being outspent four-to-one in Ohio and between two-to-one and three-to-one in Texas.
"They're trying to crush us," she said.
(h/t Taegan Goddard)
And they're succeeding. And there's nothing wrong with that. The Obama campaign is doing what they have to do to end this. They are playing by the rules. This is how the game is played. The problem is that it is a presidential campaign, and it is played like a game. The rules need to be radically changed.
And I would have loved to have had the opportunity to vote for Chris Dodd.