What’s Wrong with this Picture: $271.43 per Vote


Senator Mark Begich raised and spent some $9.8 million. Dan “the Carpetbagger” Sullivan raised and spent $6.7 million.

Outside PACs, SuperPACs and “dark money” §501(c)(4) organizations spent $6.9 million supporting Begich, $13.8 million opposing Begich, $3.7 million supporting the Carpetbagger and $16.1 million opposing the Carpetbagger.

That’s a total of – huh, the total melted WC’s HP-12C calculator – about $57 million spent in the Alaska U.S. Senate general election campaign. And that’s only through October 15, 2014 reports. All those ads, telephone calls and annoyances in the last three weeks aren’t included.

Too Much to Fit in a Suitcase, Huh?

Too Much to Fit in a Suitcase, Huh?

Between the two candidates, they have 212,000 votes, in round numbers. That’s $271.43 per vote.  Sure, there are still absentee and other mail-in ballots to be counted, and yes, the total spending will go up with the post-election reports. But still. $271.43 per vote.

That’s not the republican form of government envisioned by Thomas Jefferson.  It may be the vision of Chief Justice John Roberts, but WC doesn’t recall voting for the Chief Justice. Our Republic is apparently for sale to those willing to pay the highest price. And we don’t even get to know who they are.

Sure, it doesn’t work every time. Another carpetbagger, Scott Brown, was soundly defeated in New Hampshire, using the same script that Sullivan used. But it worked too often. Even once would be to often. The bottom line is that the Kochtopus bought themselves a U.S. Senate.

Here’s a thought experiment to consider while you think about what you could have done with the $271.43 spent on you.

Imagine you are visiting Washington, D.C., and decide you’d like to visit the junior senator from Alaska, and it’s Dan Sullivan. Do you think you’ll get to see him? Do you think you’ll get to see anybody but a receptionist and a second tier staffer? Suppose you own a home in the plume of sulfolane from Flint Hills Refinery, outside of North Pole, You want the junior senator’s support in keeping the remediation level rigorous.

Now imagine you are billionaire Charles Koch, and you are in D.C., and you want to see the junior senator from Alaska. Do you think you’ll have the slightest trouble getting an immediate face-to-face meeting? And suppose Charles Koch mentions that he thinks the sulfolane level the State of Alaska has imposed is unreasonable.

Which voice is more likely to get action? The voter you spent $271.43 on, or the guy who paid all that money?

The campaign funding system in the United States has always been corrupting. Since Citizens United and that case’s progeny, it has gotten far worse. It’s reached the point that it’s indistinguishable from bribery.

$271.43 per vote. Kind of says it all.

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5 thoughts on “What’s Wrong with this Picture: $271.43 per Vote

  1. I just started answering my land line again. One day I had 17 missed calls and knew no one who called. The increased mail did help on my heating bill though.

  2. I have a stinking suspicion the Kochtopus was behind Sullivan’s change of heart on the minimum wage. It doesn’t fit anything else about him except the “do-whatever-it-takes-to-beat-Begich” MO that he slipped on when he introduced himself to that table of miners in Nome, and besides, Sullivan has always smelled more like a puppet than an ingenious rogue tactician.

    The possible Kochtopus move is not so counter intuitive after all, because “It” has long had its giant cephalopodic eye on the biggest picture and, besides, whatever it takes.

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