Wednesday, October 04, 2017

The Big Money

I've been a bit of a skeptic about campaign finance regulations ever since the FEC tried to outlaw (they backed down) idiots like me talking about politics online. I even testified! But regulation aside, the thing I don't get about "money in politics" is it little money. At least when we are talking about congressional and presidential election money which is all the FEC regulates (money comes in so many other ways). One thing sucky bloggers like me (and the Dean campaign, a million years ago) tried to show was small donations are a viable model. When people argue politicians are servants of their donors I look at the numbers and think "that is so little money." Given that the vast majority of House seats are safe seats, the money as a tool for political preservation barely matters.

Obviously big donors matter. I just don't think they matter in the sense of "I need them to be re-elected." I think they matter in ways that are more cultural than purely transactional. You listen to the guy who wrote you big check because he is the guy with the big check, not because you actually need him for your re-election. Obama didn't really need rich people money, yet he still courted it.