Political experts have cited many reasons for Democrat Ralph Northams huge win in Tuesdays elections. Credit has gone to the states 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 Gillespies 2.5 million. By the time the polls closed, Northam had spent 32 million to Gillespies 23 million.
Northam also got a lot of help. The League of Conservation Voters spent more than 1 million to help him out. Planned Parenthoods Virginia affiliate kicked in 3 million. Environmentalist Tom Steyer threw in another 2 million, Michael Bloombergs gun control group added more than 1 million, a group affiliated with Barack Obama added 1 million more, and so on. Why hasnt this “outside money” been cited as a factor in the race—or as proof that “money buys elections”?
Getting money out of politics is a laughably stupid ambition, mainly because the people that crow the most about the magnitude of that problem are usually fine with “the right kind of money” coming in.
For example, everyone hates Koch money, but no one seems to mind Soros money. Everyone hates “corporate” money but is fine with “union” money. Your perspective on whether or not money should be kept out (or whose should be kept out) generally aligns with which color pompoms you carry.
Me? I don’t give a damn; both sides are corrupt anyway.