If this season’s Republican primary battle seems even more wacko, out of touch with reality, and farcical than usual, you’re not alone. There’s a simple explanation: Super PACs allow a select few individual people or organizations who are notably out of touch with reality – the super rich – to heavily influence political campaigns.
If you’re like me, you’ve wondered how so many candidates who clearly could not win in a contest with Obama are still stumbling around the primaries like the living dead. The most obvious example is Newt Gingrich: the vast majority of Republicans don’t believe he has a chance of winning and wouldn’t want him to be president anyway. What keeps his campaign going? Answer: one eccentric old billionaire who likes his position on Israel. Before the days of Super PACs, Sheldon Adelson would be able to express his opinion up to $2,500 per campaign. Now, he can single-handedly keep a failing candidate in the presidential race.
Think of the billionaires you know. Most of them are no Warren Buffets. Now imagine them having 100,000 votes to your one. Yeah.
This should frighten and discombobulate any political party that actually wants to win. In the end, while money is powerful, only so many votes can be influenced by campaign financing. By allowing individual super-rich people (or organizations) to heavily influence the early campaign, parties may end up with unelectable nominees competing in the final contest.
Oh yeah, we’ll also end up with even more incompetent and out-of-touch people in office. But who cares about that?