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Michael Parenti – Money Is Still the Name of the Game

From Common Dreams:

Money Is Still the Name of the Game

by Michael Parenti

For years certain pundits and political scientists have insisted that money is not all that important in winning elections. Large sums expended on campaigns glean only an extra percentage point or two in votes, we are told, and often the candidate who spends the most ends up losing anyway.

“Other Variables”

In 2010 Republican candidate Meg Whitman smothered the California gubernatorial contest with $142 million of her own money but still lost to Jerry Brown who spent a mere $24 million, along with another $27 million or so put up by independent groups. Such results are seized upon by those who argue that money does not guarantee victory. They insist that other variables — such as party affiliation, incumbency, candidate’s image, and key issues — may be the deciding factors.

True, but we should remember that these “other variables” themselves are most likely to gather form and substance within a well-financed campaign. Feeding on large sums, a candidate can promote his image in a highly favorable light and advertise (or bury) the issues as best suit him, all the while casting mean shadows upon his financially weaker opponent.

Getting back to California’s Meg and Jerry show: candidates who win while spending less than their opponents, as Jerry Brown did, still usually have to spend quite a lot, about $50 million in his case. While never a surefire guarantor of victory, a large war chest — even if not the largest — is usually a necessary condition. In sum, money may not guarantee victory, but a serious lack of it almost always guarantees defeat.

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