Is money THE single most important factor in getting elected these days?

I’m not so much thinking of the presidential election or strictly local (e.g., city council), but governors and state/national legislators.

I heard a story on NPR today about the Illinois governor’s race and apparently one of the candidates has beaucoup personal money–Chicago Tribune story.

Do the character, record, and policies of the candidates matter at all any more when big bucks are in play? IOW does a good, smart, principled candidate have a prayer of beating a well-funded jerk, or is it now all about the money?

Feel free to comment on presidential and local elections, if so inclined.

I’d say it’s up there. Most people who voted for Trump tell me “he’s successful”. A lot of people think that rich people know a lot more about government for some reason. Like, “Wow, they’re so rich they must know all KINDS of things.”

A rich preacher is the GOP’s wet dream on any ticket.

Don’t get me started on actors in politics. :smiley:

Did you read the article? Because there’s more than one candidate with beaucoup personal money.

If money were what’s most important, then Clinton would have beaten Trump. What helped Trump wasn’t money (of which he has little or none of his own), but the perception of having money (of which he has plenty).

Money buys ads and influence, and this begets voter awareness. Combined with the fact that organizations can put essentially any statements in a political ad and by the time any suits over slander and libel can be litigated the election is long over, and yes, money talks. Liz Warren demonstrated that it is possible to get elected without ‘Big Money’ backing (banks, pharma, defense, and agricultural concerns) but she’s really the exception that proves the rule; she’s a smart and highly principled politician who could basically only get elected in a state like Massachusetts or New York where large liberal-leaning demographics and a large wealth base favor independent political action. She wouldn’t stand a chance in California, much less Indiana, Texas, or Georgia.

This, in and of itself, is an argument for election reform and strict public financing of elections. Billionaire financiers, either of the Koch or Soros variety, should not be manifestly influencing ostensibly an democratic electoral process, nor should campaigns go on for two or more years to the point that independent candidates have nomhope of even being heard over the din. Because even if Joe Exotic doesn’t have Clostridium botulinum’s chance in an oxygen-rich atmosphere to win, he just might have something worthwhile to say about how the nation is being run, and he almost certainly has a more valuable contribution than a bunch of Russian-hacker backed tiki-torch carrying white supremicists.


Trump also used fear, lies and focused almost entirely on his base.

Failing to represent the whole country is another reason to be depressed about his Presidency.

To be fair, Pritzker is in a league of his own. He is one of only less than 2000 billionares on the planet, and he is spending money endlessly. And it’s working. He is an inexplicably bad candidate, yet he is still almost certainly going to be our next governor.

Meanwhile, Rauner, the current Illinois governor, and Kennedy, Pritzker’s main challenger in the Dem primary, are measely millionaires.

This is the current state of our joke of a democracy… We get to choose between millionaire or billionaire overlords to rule over us. May they be benevolent plutocrats.

I guess I should clarify-- I mean are campaign funds the most important thing in getting elected. Not so much the personal fortunes of the candidates except insofar as those fortunes are available to be spent on the campaign. Stranger’s post addresses this.

Re the Illinois race:

This. The point of the NPR story was that he is financially in a class by himself, so he doesn’t have to worry about raising funds. He can just spend his own.

No, not at all. Hillary Clinton has 2x more money than Trump and she still lost.

Conor Lamb raised $5 million while Saccone raised $11 million. Saccone still lost a seat in a district that is R+11.

You can dump as much money as you want, but a republican isn’t winning a senate seat in a state like MA or CA unless the political tides are against the democrats.

If anything we are finding out that money doesn’t really matter ‘that’ much in politics. What matters is which way the political winds are blowing. Which party is unpopular, and which party has a motivated or demotivated base.

Obama beat two Republicans.

You mean Obama?

All candidates have to persuade people to vote for them; money just provides the means of reaching them. After that it’s up to the candidate.

Money isn’t enough to buy elections. If you have a very poorly funded campaign, however, you are guaranteed to lose.

I am an enthusiastic supporter of publicly funded campaigns, FWIW.

The Illinois Governor race is interesting. On the one hand, it looks like everything disgusting, moneywise, that has been brewing has come to a head. On the Democratic side it is likely that the billionaire Pritzker who has thrown sickening amounts of money into the racce will win. If he were the standout “no doubt about it” best candidate for the Democrats, that wold be one thing- but he’s not. Pritzker, Biss, Kennedy. They’d all be pretty much the same Democratic governor, so it looks as though money is indeed the most important factor.
Until you look at the Republican side, where it appears that the incumbent billionaire Rauner is about to get his ass kicked up and down by Ives, who I’m pretty certain is no billionaire.
(I haven’t read this thread yet, so I’m curious if it has been shown how much each candidate has spent on ads and stuff.)

ETA: It is my understanding that Rauner is a billionaire.

Obama is a rich preacher?
All things being equal, the guy with the most money wins. But money can’t make someone win who just can’t win. A Democrat is not going to carry Oklahoma even if he spends $100 million to try. A Republican is not going to carry DC even if he personally gives $10,000 to each and every voter.

According the statistics that I’ve seen, the answer is “yes” because the candidates that are spending the most money are the ones being elected.

**Winning vs. Spending **

Money is a necessary condition, not a sufficient one. Presidents Forbes and Poirot can confirm this.

This is an important point. There is a level of money that is necessary to be taken seriously in the race. But the relative size of the money pot after that doesn’t guarantee the win.

I think you mean Perot. :slight_smile: (Althought Hercule probably would have tidied up the country a lot. And solved some mysteries.)
Good discussion. I’m learning stuff.

Also, to the extent that there is a correlation, you have to separate out cause and effect. If you have one candidate who’s super-popular, or an opponent who’s super-unpopular, the popular guy is likely to get more donations just because he’s popular, and then likely to win because he’s popular.

Yeah but even that article mentions that money goes to the candidate who people think is going to win. People don’t give tons of money to the candidate that is the long shot.

Yes. Remember “Hope & change.”? To some extent all politicians are preachers.

Spot on.