Hillary or Bernie?

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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby The O » 24 Feb 2016, 21:57

I must admit that I have not read every word in this thread. I've been following Bernie for a long time and he has two major positions from which all of his other policies derive. His first and over arching point is that there needs to be campaign finance reform. The citizen united decision was one of the worst decisions by the SC in quite a long time. It's amazing that supposedly educated people don't know the difference between speech and money and between a corporation and a person. Until we can get dark money out of the process, nothing significant will change. These politicians are not only bought up, but spend a ton of their time raising more money. What I don't understand is why conservatives would possibly be against this. By the rules right now, ISIS could legitimately support a candidate for Senator and no one would know. How is that even close to OK with the people? The second overall push from Bernie is to return the top tax rate to a reasonable number. We were at 91% under FDR. Reagan himself took the rate from 70% to 28% just while he was in office. We've never recovered from that move. Obama and pushed it to just under 40%, but as many know, many corporations pay exactly 0% in tax. These two fixes alone will help our economy and our politics. All of his other policies stem from these first two moves.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby Keirador » 27 Feb 2016, 00:51

Is there proof money actually buys politicians, though? Or just a strong suspicion? Jeb Bush just spent $125 million to embarrass himself. Trump is dominating based almost exclusively on earned media, not campaign spending. In 2012, Republicans outspent Democrats on the Presidential race, and outside groups supporting the GOP outspent outside groups supporting the Democrats nearly 4 to 1, and Democrats still won handily. Hillary Clinton came into 2008 with a cash edge over Obama. I think the causality here might be wrong: it's not that wealthy campaigns are able to buy support, it's that strong support makes campaigns wealthy. I think this race and 2012 really prove the point: if your campaign is extremely rich, but your donations reflect massive contributions from a very limited number of supporters, you're just not as viable a candidate as somebody who might have less money, but the money they have reflects broad and deep support from a large pool of small donors, who are almost certain to also be committed voters.

I agree that it's a problem legislators seem to spend so much of their time fundraising, but I'm not sure I agree that political spending is as effective at winning elections as people make it out to be.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby Crunkus_old » 27 Feb 2016, 01:17

Keirador wrote:Is there proof money actually buys politicians, though? Or just a strong suspicion? Jeb Bush just spent $125 million to embarrass himself. Trump is dominating based almost exclusively on earned media, not campaign spending. In 2012, Republicans outspent Democrats on the Presidential race, and outside groups supporting the GOP outspent outside groups supporting the Democrats nearly 4 to 1, and Democrats still won handily. Hillary Clinton came into 2008 with a cash edge over Obama. I think the causality here might be wrong: it's not that wealthy campaigns are able to buy support, it's that strong support makes campaigns wealthy. I think this race and 2012 really prove the point: if your campaign is extremely rich, but your donations reflect massive contributions from a very limited number of supporters, you're just not as viable a candidate as somebody who might have less money, but the money they have reflects broad and deep support from a large pool of small donors, who are almost certain to also be committed voters.

I agree that it's a problem legislators seem to spend so much of their time fundraising, but I'm not sure I agree that political spending is as effective at winning elections as people make it out to be.


Why do politicians waste so much time fundraising if it's not's effective at generating influence? Are they just horribly misinformed on the subject?

If "people make it out to be" basically the only relevant variable, I'd say you have a point. But if they are simply making it out to be grossly more important than it should be, a well funded campaign going off the rails isn't proof of much really except of the existence of other relevant variables. I don't think it comes down to just few vs. many doners either. Money is prioritized because it can be used to generate influence and change minds. Money can fail to do so, be misspent in chasing this goal, but that doesn't mean it can't translate into an enormous amount of support and completely change the nature of the conversation surrounding an election.

I've never particularly understood why a donation is considered exercising free speech. The concept that people are going to be somehow disenfranchised if they cannot donate money to political candidates is ridiculous. There's no reason for that nonsense that anyone's ever explained to me adequately. Free speech is actually threatened when you have more of it or less of it depending on the size of your bank account.
Last edited by Crunkus_old on 27 Feb 2016, 02:59, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby musashisamurai » 27 Feb 2016, 02:32

Crunkus wrote:I've never particularly understood why a donation is considered exercising free speech. The concept that people are going to be somehow disenfranchised if they cannot donate money to political candidates is ridiculous. There's no reason for that nonsense that anyone's ever explained to me adequately. Free speech is actually threatened when you have more of it or less of it depending on the size of your bank account.


May I give you a donation to change your mind? After all, its election year...at the very least, can I invite you to my semi-annual vacation/retreat/outing on my private island. Just for networking, you know how that is...

And that is how DC works in a nutshell.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby GregorV » 27 Feb 2016, 02:43

I think that there is a certain minimum level of publicity. As we see with Trump, you can either buy that publicity or earn it.

However, having publicity is a necessary but not sufficient condition to being a successful candidate.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby The O » 27 Feb 2016, 19:34

Keirador wrote:Is there proof money actually buys politicians, though? Or just a strong suspicion? Jeb Bush just spent $125 million to embarrass himself. Trump is dominating based almost exclusively on earned media, not campaign spending. In 2012, Republicans outspent Democrats on the Presidential race, and outside groups supporting the GOP outspent outside groups supporting the Democrats nearly 4 to 1, and Democrats still won handily. Hillary Clinton came into 2008 with a cash edge over Obama. I think the causality here might be wrong: it's not that wealthy campaigns are able to buy support, it's that strong support makes campaigns wealthy. I think this race and 2012 really prove the point: if your campaign is extremely rich, but your donations reflect massive contributions from a very limited number of supporters, you're just not as viable a candidate as somebody who might have less money, but the money they have reflects broad and deep support from a large pool of small donors, who are almost certain to also be committed voters.

I agree that it's a problem legislators seem to spend so much of their time fundraising, but I'm not sure I agree that political spending is as effective at winning elections as people make it out to be.


I was going to respond to this, and then realized that it was a joke. Sometimes it's hard to catch satire through a post, so it took me a minute. Very funny indeed.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby Keirador » 28 Feb 2016, 00:59

Well, I'm neither joking nor asserting a strong opinion. I suspect, but do not know, that money has far less influence in politics than is typically assumed. I'd note that while the general charge of buying politicians or buying elections is quite ubiquitous, specifics are a bit thinner on the ground. Can you point me to a specific election in which outside money seems to have been the tipping factor? Or an elected official who seems to have been purchased?

I get that special interests donate to politicians and then politicians advance the issues of the special interest, but I also feel like that's sort of the same as saying "harrumph, those voters are only voting for that candidate because they share the same views on policy formation." Fundraising seems to me to be a sign of support, not a source of support. Special interests contribute to candidates who are amenable to their views.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby Keirador » 28 Feb 2016, 01:01

GregorV wrote:I think that there is a certain minimum level of publicity. As we see with Trump, you can either buy that publicity or earn it.

However, having publicity is a necessary but not sufficient condition to being a successful candidate.

Agree with this. You can't run without any money, but beyond a minimum threshold required for people to even know who you are, I'm not sure you can actually buy sufficient votes to be a winning candidate.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby Keirador » 28 Feb 2016, 01:02

musashisamurai wrote:
Crunkus wrote:I've never particularly understood why a donation is considered exercising free speech. The concept that people are going to be somehow disenfranchised if they cannot donate money to political candidates is ridiculous. There's no reason for that nonsense that anyone's ever explained to me adequately. Free speech is actually threatened when you have more of it or less of it depending on the size of your bank account.


May I give you a donation to change your mind? After all, its election year...at the very least, can I invite you to my semi-annual vacation/retreat/outing on my private island. Just for networking, you know how that is...

And that is how DC works in a nutshell.

I would love a specific example.
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Re: Hillary or Bernie?

Postby musashisamurai » 28 Feb 2016, 01:29

Keirador wrote:
musashisamurai wrote:
Crunkus wrote:I've never particularly understood why a donation is considered exercising free speech. The concept that people are going to be somehow disenfranchised if they cannot donate money to political candidates is ridiculous. There's no reason for that nonsense that anyone's ever explained to me adequately. Free speech is actually threatened when you have more of it or less of it depending on the size of your bank account.


May I give you a donation to change your mind? After all, its election year...at the very least, can I invite you to my semi-annual vacation/retreat/outing on my private island. Just for networking, you know how that is...

And that is how DC works in a nutshell.

I would love a specific example.


This is actually something that the Koch brothers did to Scalia-Scalia also went on trips with Cheney, something brought up in a case about him.


Well, heres onestory about Hillary. There are also allegations stemming from Clinton Foundation donations as well.

In another more broad instance, the NRA has donated to 200 Republican congressmen, 11 democrat congressmen, and 11 republican senators-roughly 750k dollars. You can imagine how they vote. Boeing has their own PAC and is the second largest federal contractor-they regularly give millions, sometimes hundreds of millions.

At any rate, quid pro quo is pretty hard to prove in most instances, due to how these meetings are held. A handful of politicians have been charged with bribery, as well as the dozens of way you can bypass laws.
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