Money In Politics: A Problem Only For Some?

As the talk of the midterm elections starts to heat up, we can only cringe at the barrage of pleas by candidates for money.

Not that long ago we heard liberals outraged by the money spent on elections. People such as the Koch Brothers, brothers who donated heavily to conservative causes and candidates, became virtual boogeymen in the media, with a number of liberal activists calling for boycotts of their businesses. Big money from rich donors was damaging our democracy.

Fast forward to more recent history. Rich and very liberal activist George Soros spent tens of millions of dollars on local elections in the last cycle and last week announced that intended to spend $125 million in this year’s midterm elections. And…wait for it…nothing. You can almost hear a pin drop. No outrage, no calls for any boycotts of Progressive Insurance (which Soros controls) or other of his businesses.

Or what about 2020? Tom Steyer, the billionaire liberal and environmental activist, had spent hundreds of millions in previous elections. He decided to run for President, and spent over $400 million in that election alone, although most of it was on his own campaign. Yet, how many rallies were there about a rich billionaire trying to buy an election? Or, take another billionaire who had spent huge sums and decided to run for President in 2020, as well:  Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg spent even more, shelling out $1.2 BILLION in election spending in 2020 alone.

All of these amounts are far more than the hated Koch Bros. ever spent. Liberal big money contributors have been the top spenders in the last several election cycles although, to be sure, rich conservatives such as Sheldon Adelman have spent huge sums, as well. So the question remains:  why no outrage?

It is pretty hard not to draw the conclusion that big money and rich donors is not as much the issue, as who is getting the big money from rich donors. Otherwise, wouldn’t Soros, Steyer and Bloomberg be as reviled as Adelman, as the Kochs were or others who gave to conservative candidates or causes?

Big money in politics is a problem, and certainly a topic for another discussion But it is interesting, and very telling, to note the selective outrage.

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