The midterms are only a few weeks away and according to tabulations from OpenSecrets.org, which has been tracking spending by outside groups, they’re shaping to be the most expensive on record.
“Outside spending tops $1 billion in 2022 midterms,” the nonprofit just reported.
That means a select few have been busily buying campaign stock in races that may not even touch them personally.
And that means if you happen to live in a community that’s been targeted for political takeover by an outside group, then your individual vote, your individual will, your individual desire for your own neighborhood might not, in the end, matter. The seat goes to the one with the biggest pocketbook. The slot is won by the one with the biggest financial backing.
So much for power to the people.
So much for representative government — the old “of, by and for the people” approach.
Today’s elections are more about money and purchasing power and buying influence and making sure the candidate in the state on the East Coast is abiding by the will of the rich guy on the West Coast. And vice versa. And guess who the elected is going to represent mostly while serving in office? Not Joe Q. Taxpayer, that’s for sure. Or Joe’s family.
“Four of the five races that have attracted the most outside spending during the general election are considered toss-ups — Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada and Wisconsin,” OpenSecrets.org wrote. “Outside groups have spent more money supporting candidates in these races than almost any other.”
On the Senate side, Pennsylvania is drawing a massive amount of outside money — $38.1 million for the primaries alone; $66.8 million between the May 17 primary and Oct. 4 for the face-off between Lt. Gov. John Fetterman and Mehmet Oz.
In Georgia, it’s around $65 million; Nevada and Wisconsin, almost $55 million. Arizona’s Senate race, meanwhile, has drawn more than $50 million of outside contribution dollars.
And it’s Republicans who are crossing state lines and spending the most — but in 2018, it was Democrats. As OpenSecrets.org wrote, “[a]t this point in the 2018 election cycle, outside groups supporting Democratic congressional candidates had spent more money than those backing Republicans.” Now, outside groups tied to conservative causes are “outspending liberal ones 2-to-1,” the organization wrote.
In the end, though, it’s the small voices of American voters who are stifled.
Whether it’s George Soros sending in millions of dollars to buy up local district attorney races and usher in soft-on-crime candidates, or the Club for Growth spending $59.2 million to make sure its carefully selected candidates — not Donald Trump types! — win their respective races, in the end, it all works toward elevating party insiders and stifling citizen voices. It all goes toward keeping the political parties intact, and shaped as leadership desires — no matter the will of the locals.
“Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally,” George Washington said in his 1796 Farewell Address.
So, too, of the massive pouring of outside dollars into state and local elections.
Politicians should always be beholden first, to the Constitution, second, to the people who elect them. But today’s system seems more geared to putting first those who pave politicians’ path to power with massive monetary donations from people who don’t even have a vote — who don’t even live in the area that allows them a vote. And that’s not just unfair.
That’s a recipe for a plutocracy, or perhaps oligarchy — in any case, a nation of utter inequality leading to the loss of individual freedoms.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter, @ckchumley. Listen to her podcast “Bold and Blunt” by clicking HERE. And never miss her column; subscribe to her newsletter and podcast by clicking HERE. Her latest book, “Lockdown: The Socialist Plan To Take Away Your Freedom,” is available by clicking HERE or clicking HERE or CLICKING HERE.