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The new Gilded Age: Close to half of all super PAC money comes from 50 donors

TheDemSocialist

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A small core of super-rich individuals is responsible for the record sums cascading into the coffers of super PACs for the 2016 elections, a dynamic that harks back to the financing of presidential campaigns in the Gilded Age.Close to half of the money — 41 percent — raised by the groups by the end of February came from just 50 mega-donors and their relatives, according to a Washington Post analysis of federal campaign finance reports. Thirty-six of those are Republican supporters who have invested millions trying to shape the GOP nomination contest.
In all, donors this cycle have given more than $607 million to 2,300 super PACs, which can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and corporations. That means super PAC money is on track to surpass the $828 million that the Center for Responsive Politics found was raised by such groups for the 2012 elections.


Read more @: The new Gilded Age: Close to half of all super PAC money comes from 50 donors

Democracy being bought and sold by a small amount of oligarchs at the top.
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Greenbeard

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Thirty-six of those are Republican supporters who have invested millions trying to shape the GOP nomination contest.

And yet they seem to have failed horribly at that goal.
 

Beaudreaux

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Fiddytree

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I find it interesting that the anti-super PAC rhetoric is coming in so strong during a primary process which has largely highlighted the ineffectiveness of throwing money at a campaign.
 

Captain Adverse

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And yet they seem to have failed horribly at that goal.


I find it interesting that the anti-super PAC rhetoric is coming in so strong during a primary process which has largely highlighted the ineffectiveness of throwing money at a campaign.


In the case of the GOP only because the person they have been trying to derail doesn't need their money...yet.

His initial success came partly from this very fact; that he was NOT a paid puppet with strings held by those puppeteers.

So people who have been annoyed at this growing problem over the decades are saw a chance to act, and rallied to his support.

Still, the money and efforts (through media control) spent by BOTH parties to derail that candidate are providing dividends all the same, in the character assassination so many people have been crowing about which will likely cost him the overall campaign.
 

Greenbeard

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In the case of the GOP only because the person they have been trying to derail doesn't need their money...yet.

They don't seem to have had much of an impact in 2012 either. Dems picked up seats in both houses of Congress and retained the presidency despite a big disadvantage in SuperPAC spending.

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So far their effectiveness seems to be primarily in helping rich people piss away money.

I'm not defending the concept of a super PAC but I'd like to see some support for the argument that they're buying elections. And some clearer explanation of what that means.
 

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Captain Adverse

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They don't seem to have had much of an impact in 2012 either. Dems picked up seats in both houses of Congress and retained the presidency despite a big disadvantage in SuperPAC spending.

skvuqd.png


So far their effectiveness seems to be primarily in helping rich people piss away money.

I'm not defending the concept of a super PAC but I'd like to see some support for the argument that they're buying elections. And some clearer explanation of what that means.

So, there are no DEMOCRATIC super PACs?

The mega-rich are only trying to invest in enough control so that they can block action against their business interests. Many prefer Republican candidates but also support conservative Democrats in predominantly Blue states. Their money also goes to lobbying which politicians in BOTH camps soak up like sponges.

The real indicator is how successful those special interests are in protecting their financial interests regardless of which party is dominant in Congress.
 

Greenbeard

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The real indicator is how successful those special interests are in protecting their financial interests regardless of which party is dominant in Congress.

The question at hand (regarding super PACs in particular) seems to me to be twofold: (1) are elections being bought, and (2) from whom are they being bought.

It's not clear to me that the answer to (1) is yes, so I'm interested in seeing evidence if it exists.

And as for (2) the answer would almost certainly be the voters. If Mike Bloomberg's super PAC succeeds at convincing the electorate that guns are bad and the pro- gun control candidates he supports ought to be elected, then at the end of the day the election of those candidates (and presumably subsequent enactment of gun control policies in various states) is an expression of the "will of the people." The goal of these organizations seems to be to influence public opinion and voting patterns. They don't seem to be very good at it, but supposing they were that's a rather bottom-up way to influence politics.

The alternative is a top-down approach: smoke-filled back rooms and lobbying and deliberately circumventing the electorate and the will of the voters. That picture of corruption I get. The policy preferences of a rich person shouldn't substitute for that of thousands or millions of voters because they have special access to a legislator.

But in cases where we're talking about thousands or millions of voters adopting the policy preference of that rich person and supporting it at the ballot box--well that strikes me as a different thing. In the top-down approach you're buying politicians (which I assume we all agree is unambiguously bad) but in the bottom-up approach you're "buying" the voters themselves en masse. That's a much murkier thing.
 

Fiddytree

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In the case of the GOP only because the person they have been trying to derail doesn't need their money...yet.

His initial success came partly from this very fact; that he was NOT a paid puppet with strings held by those puppeteers.

So people who have been annoyed at this growing problem over the decades are saw a chance to act, and rallied to his support.

Still, the money and efforts (through media control) spent by BOTH parties to derail that candidate are providing dividends all the same, in the character assassination so many people have been crowing about which will likely cost him the overall campaign.

Given that it is the GOP which seemed to be the pillars of SuperPAC development, I think evaluating their effectiveness in a few categories (bang for buck, actually electing candidates, etc.) more than suffices for evidence. However, as Green was great at posting, just four years ago people were wondering what exactly those billion dollar campaigns actually accomplished with a national stalemate. It was far too early to declare SuperPACs irrelevant white noise. However, about 3-4 years later, we have seen all but the ineffectiveness of the SuperPAC in swaying public opinion--or even matching public opinion and preferences.

Personally, I have been cheering Karl Rove on for years now with his superpac strategy of fighting back against the populist Tea Partiers and other populists that have found their way into Trump's campaign. His efforts have been great at getting other big wigs to contribute money, but that's sadly all it has accomplished so far.
 
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Absentglare

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If it's a real problem, and they are buying the elections, why are the politicians they are supporting not consistently getting elected?

I find it interesting that the anti-super PAC rhetoric is coming in so strong during a primary process which has largely highlighted the ineffectiveness of throwing money at a campaign.

The super pac money isn't all being funneled straight into presidential candidates.

I'll give you that Jeb Bush got a ****load of money and it didn't keep his campaign alive. An analogy might be that, while oxygen ($) is necessary to survive, there are still other ways to die.

And then you could bring up Trump who has spent alarmingly little. Truth be told, many have spent on his behalf, as the fox/cnn/msnbc cycle has spent a lot of time focusing on Trump for viewership, and in doing so, they have been breathing life into his campaign.

The money super pacs spend has also gone into phrasing the discussions, making political context. Billionaires might not care if Sanders gets elected, as long as they end up eroding enough public support for his economic agenda, they can still handicap his ability to get it done.
 
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