Election roundup

  • Does money rule politics? As of late October Trump campaign had been badly outspent by Clinton, with Super PAC money favoring her by more than 3-1 [Bloomberg]
  • Clinton v. Jones, 520 U.S. 681 (1997), on whether private lawsuits can proceed against a President while in office, “potentially quite important again.” [Orin Kerr]
  • Related, from Ken White at Popehat a few days back: stop painting the civil suits against Donald Trump as worse than they are;
  • “Democrats, please: Do not respond by doubling down on identity politics. That is poison in a multi-ethnic democracy.” [Jonathan Haidt]
  • Maricopa County, Ariz. sheriff Joe Arpaio, a frequent target in this space, loses re-election bid [NPR]
  • Successful ballot measure will make Maine first state to adopt “ranked-choice” preferential voting [Ian Farrow, Tyler Cowen]
  • More: What Donald Trump’s election will mean for the Supreme Court [Josh Blackman, Ilya Shapiro]


  • Does money rule politics? Yes, it still does. Even though Clinton outspent Trump, this is because the media couldn’t keep the cameras off of him and he got billions of dollars worth of free publicity. No other candidate could have pulled that off.

    Meanwhile, in Senate/House/state races, yes, lots of cash infusions helped many people win elections they otherwise couldn’t have won.

    Give up on this one Walter, money does affect politics; donations aren’t speech; and Citizens United needs to be superseded.

    • Yes, of course money affects politics. If it didn’t, candidates wouldn’t do fundraisers. They hate them, from what I hear.

      Citizens United, though, is another issue altogether. I don’t think the government should be able to tell anyone that they can’t show a film because it’s critical of a political candidate. And that “anyone” includes not only individuals, but groups of people pooling their resources. It’s insane to say that the New York Times can write an article endorsing a candidate on its editorial page, but a group like Citizens United can’t.

  • Sure money rules politics, especially when the potential gains in favored legislative treatment, input into regulatory matters, and weight of “thumb” on scale of competition, are there for the buying.

    Rather than trying to shut up citizens’ input into the elective process via limits on who/how much/when may contribute to candidates/issues, address the problem at its root:
    reduce the largesse that flows from the federal government.

    If it ain’t there to sell, it won’t be bought.

  • @pdb– money is not speech, but it is a crucial means for mass dissemination of speech, aka “the press”. I value my right to post comments on the Internet without having to hire a lawyer to face charges of “coordination,” etc.

    In response to obvious corruption, however, (eg abuses of IP law), perhaps contributions, like votes, should be kept secret from the beneficiary?

  • Free negative publicity.

    The non-Fox media couldn’t keep from going negative on Trump’s every move, which really played poorly for them, but well for Trump. And their insane efforts to portray every tiny bit of negative press about Clinton (of which in reality was a tsunami of bad deeds) as a product of the mean spirited internet sites, Drudge, et al. Which played wound up playing well for Trump.

    Trump has money, he didn’t need the outside money, he probably only accepted it because the common clave wanted to be a part of his victory. I have to believe that his pollsters were confident enough of winning that spending additional money was unnecessary.

    I know in my neck of the woods many a candidate has out spent his opponent and still lost.

    And lastly money affects everything, so why should politics be carved out as different.

  • You make, rather than rebut Mr. Olson’s point, PDB, when you note that Trump got the publicity without money. Own goal.

  • Give up on this, PDB. Money is in politics because there’s so much money to be had from government. The contract/grant chasing, rent seeking and desire to influence the tax code is the real impetus behind it.

    You want less money in elections? Reduce the size and scope of government.