In Better Times – In All Ways – Staying Alive Ahead Centered Inspired
October 22, 2016
In Better Times
In All Ways
Staying Alive Ahead Centered Inspired
This is an example of what “CAMPAIGN TAX REFORM” is necessary for. I was targeted relentlessly by many of the groups listed in the article on this election. WHAT COULD BE DONE USUALLY FOR ANY NORMAL PERSON TO BE A CANDIDATE FOR ANY OFFICE, in this fatal climate of spending without end? How many resources could be used to care for anyone who feels they have no stake in the election or voice? $ is not a way to determine who is qualified among us to run for any office. $ certainly defines who and how one is successful. SADLY we live on borrowing and gluttony not caring for the world we share.”
“Hillary Clinton in Cleveland on Friday. Mrs. Clinton’s close personal ties to elite donors have helped in fund-raising efforts.© Ruth Fremson/The New York Times Hillary Clinton in Cleveland on Friday. Mrs. Clinton’s close personal ties to elite donors have helped in fund-raising efforts.
Six years after a Supreme Court decision opened vast new channels for money to flow into national elections, Democrats have built the largest and best-coordinated apparatus of outside groups operating in the 2016 presidential campaign, defying expectations that conservative and corporate wealth would dominate the race.
A dozen different organizations raised over $200 million through the beginning of October and since May have spent more than $110 million on television, digital and radio ads in support of Hillary Clinton, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission through Thursday.
The handful of organizations backing Donald J. Trump have raised less than half that amount, a steep dive from four years ago, when wealthy Republicans poured hundreds of millions of dollars into groups backing the Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
The Democrats’ success this year reflects, in part, Mrs. Clinton’s close personal ties to her party’s elite donors and her allies’ willingness to exploit the 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case far more aggressively than President Obama did.
But the Democrats are also deeply indebted to one man: Mr. Trump, whose provocations and tirades — along with a loud crusade against his own party’s donors — have virtually shut off what once promised to be a half-billion-dollar spigot of outside money.
“Everyone thought that we would be outspent, that there would be significant operations built at the presidential level for the other candidate,” said Guy Cecil, a former Clinton aide who heads Priorities USA Action, the main hub of big Democratic giving. “That obviously hasn’t happened.”
The biggest groups set up or expanded by conservatives since Citizens United, including American Crossroads, founded by Karl Rove, and the network overseen by Charles G. and David H. Koch, are absent from the presidential campaign, focusing instead on protecting Republicans in Congress.
“Unlike President Obama four years ago, Clinton embraced the outside money game and shrewdly empowered a single group to carry her message,” said Steven J. Law, the president of American Crossroads and its sister organizations, “in contrast to the boardwalk arcade of groups supporting Trump.”
Citizens United paved the way for independent groups that could raise unlimited amounts of money from unions, corporations, and wealthy individuals to spend on elections, as long as they did not coordinate with individual candidates or parties. Republican donors moved quickly to seize on the ruling, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into the last three national elections, while Democrats struggled to persuade their donors to invest in “super PACs” at the same scale.
Mr. Trump’s rivals for the Republican nomination were backed by an array of super PACs and outside groups set up by their allies and former aides, seeming to set the stage for even greater spending in 2016. But Mr. Trump unexpectedly triumphed, exploiting his knack for free publicity and relying on his own fortune and money from grass-roots supporters. In part because of that success, Mr. Trump was slow to incorporate super PACs into his general election strategy.
By contrast, Mrs. Clinton began personally courting donors for outside groups almost as soon as she entered the campaign in spring 2015.
Priorities USA, a five-year-old super PAC that has access to the party’s biggest donors and the implicit blessing of Mrs. Clinton, is on track to raise $173 million by Election Day. That is more than any equivalent Democratic effort in history, including the controversial big-money groups set up by wealthy liberals a decade ago to unseat President George W. Bush.
The PAC is closely coordinating with environmental and labor activists and other organizations set up to harness support from veterans, African-Americans and Latinos.
In twice-monthly meetings at a Democratic law firm in downtown Washington, representatives of a dozen super PACs and progressive organizations have carved out swing-state turf and shared intelligence from organizers on the ground. Several have pooled money with Priorities USA to purchase television and digital advertising through the same media firms, allowing smaller groups to get better rates. (Other left-leaning organizations, including labor unions and a super PAC founded by the billionaire environmentalist Tom Steyer, have separately spent significant money on field organizing.)
Priorities USA has split the cost of some major campaigns with Emily’s List, the leading progressive group aimed at electing Democratic women. The super PAC has also given smaller groups access to its digital and video creative studio or shared its own television spots with other organizations to run under their own names.
In early October, for example, a super PAC controlled by the Service Employees International Union began a $3 million Spanish-language campaign targeted at Latino voters in southern Florida and Nevada. The ads, which featured Hispanic families and accused Mr. Trump of bringing “hate, divisiveness and disrespect into our homes,” was originally produced by a team at Priorities USA.
Democratic officials said the partnership had yielded better and more authentic advertising and outreach. A group called the Latino Victory Fund, which has run $400,000 in advertising backed by Priorities, advised the group on how to vary voice-over accents depending on where the ad was running: Cuban-inflected Spanish for spots airing around Miami, Mexican-American accents and word usage for Nevada.
“Sometimes we’ve come up with concepts for ads, both digital and television,” said the fund’s interim director, César J. Blanco. “In other instances, Priorities has developed a concept and shared it with us. They’ve shared with us data and polling. It’s been a really great partnership.”
Behind that partnership is an astonishing concentration of liberal wealth. More than two-thirds of the total money groups supporting Mrs. Clinton have raised — $133 million — comes from just 30 families.
Donald Sussman, a hedge fund investor and longtime liberal donor, has donated $19 million to Priorities USA, among the largest amounts any left-leaning donor has ever given to a single super PAC. Members of the billionaire Pritzker family, which founded the Hyatt hotel chain, have contributed $14 million to Priorities and other pro-Clinton groups. The liberal billionaire philanthropist George Soros has given $13.5 million, far more than he gave to support Mr. Obama four years ago.
As most of the big Republican groups have stayed away from the presidential race, a small constellation of groups run by Trump allies has sprung up in their place, raising $46 million since the beginning of the cycle.
The National Rifle Association, one of the few traditional conservative allies to get behind Mr. Trump’s campaign, has put $20 million into a super PAC supporting Mr. Trump and other Republicans. But many of the new Trump groups are getting into the game late, when advertising rates have skyrocketed, and they are competing against one another for donors and turf, sometimes even cannibalizing Mr. Trump’s own fund-raising.
Another group, Future45, has raised $13 million for ads criticizing Mrs. Clinton, and an affiliated nonprofit group that does not disclose its donors has drawn millions more. But their spending appears targeted at states with competitive Senate races, with the goal of protecting Republicans down the ballot from any damage Mr. Trump might do.
Mr. Trump has attracted some generous individual supporters, according to disclosures filed with the Federal Election Commission through last week. The casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, have donated $10 million to groups running advertising against Mrs. Clinton. Bernard Marcus, the co-founder of Home Depot, has provided $7 million to a pair of pro-Trump super PACs.
A surprisingly small donor to Mr. Trump is Robert Mercer, a New York hedge fund executive. Mr. Mercer and his family have invested millions of dollars over the years in conservative advocacy groups and media outlets, some of which are now among Mr. Trump’s biggest supporters. But Mr. Mercer has been relatively parsimonious with the cash he has put into a Mercer-controlled super PAC supporting Mr. Trump, contributing just $2 million.”
Suppose you had ten million $ to shell out, would it make sense to pay for a candidate to be chosen for office if this was a fair and open election? Let’s make sense by limiting the advertizing and exploitation of people without any voice in the electoral process due to their financial limtations.3