Does money buy votes, or does it just buy cynicism?

HG Wells, who observed that "cynicism is humor in ill health"

HG Wells, who observed that “cynicism is humor in ill health”

What if corporations dumped huge amounts of money into politics not to make you vote one way or the other, but to convince you that your opinion doesn’t matter at all? They aren’t: corporations are dumb, except possibly in the areas of touch screens and browser cookies. But what if that was the effect of money if not the intent—to make you despair of your own role in American politics and, eventually, abandon it? The conspicuous spenders of post-Citizens United politics—and, in their own way, the anonymous ones—don’t need to convince you to vote for a particular candidate. They need only convince you to stay home. Money fills the politics that Americans abandon. That’s my contention in this week‘s column for the Missoula Independent, at least. We should take solace in the re-election of Montana Supreme Court Justice Mike Wheat, whose race was a study in money versus qualifications. To paraphrase Dark Helmet, good will always triumph over marketing, because marketing is dumb. We’ll see you tomorrow with more hopeful declarations not necessarily grounded in fact.


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  1. “It cost $4 billion to reverse the airflow of federal government and make it suck a different way.”
    Oh snap!

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