In Case You’re Interested

In who’s got the most money and has also run for president – here’s this piece from the Tampa Bay Times from last Sunday.

I bring this up now because Freakonomics just released a podcast trouncing the argument that it takes a lot of money to get elected to public office. They claim it’s a causation vs. coincidence type thing. Where, yeah, a lot of wealthy people sure do end up getting elected, but attempts to isolate money as the variable that gets candidates elected versus those with substantially less of it – those studies indicate money isn’t all that effective.

This is a tremendously irresponsible portrayal of facts – no matter how correct they are – to a disaffected public in a nation where we don’t exercise our civic rights already and feel completely isolated from the political process by forces much more complex than any one school of thought can accurately portray.

I know that’s really bombastic and unnecessary rhetoric, but please, if you’re going to argue that voting – numerically – doesn’t matter, you have a civic duty to remind your listeners that, for example, more wealthy, intelligent people tend to vote and that apathetic, work-a-day Americans that are likely to swallow your message could be woefully disadvantaged by actually taking it to heart w/r/t local government and generally getting fucked in the ass over the last 15 years. Similarly, by spending 5 minutes shooting down the whole money and elections thing, we miss the more complex and hideous problems with this cynical marriage. The Super Pac mess this electoral season is a civic mockery bar none that leaves the memory of our Forebears shame-faced.  Undermining those points with math, while helpful in getting to the root of the problem, misses the psychology of – let’s say – nationhood.

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