Publisher's Note: Cash Cow
Sure, money is the motherís milk of politics, but maybe itís not all it once was.
In the most recent primaries, most of the candidates spent huge money for very few votes. According to Kevin Landrigan from the Telegraph, U.S. Senate candidate Bill Binnie spent more than $319 per vote. Of course it was a primary that very few people cared to vote in, but the high cost per vote might also point to a change that is taking place in how people find out about candidates.
A dozen years ago politics was all about how much TV a candidate could buy. But that was before 75 percent of people used digital video records to skip those annoying political commercials and before the Web. For the first time ever possibly, we the voter can find out who we want to vote for on our own. We can look over a candidateís website, read blogs and visit newspaper sites. Itís an exciting time for us voters.
While Iím not a Tea Party supporter, that movement is a great example of this trend. They are a group of people without a whole lot of money who have moved our political system with their ideas. This isnít the Gary Hart, pretty boy politics any more, though we still like our politicians to be good looking; this is an exciting time.
So what does this mean for the more than $7 million that Kelly Ayotte and Paul Hodes are going to spend in the general election for U.S. Senate? Frankly, it means most of it will be wasted. And most of that wasted money will go to television and radio commercials that weíll all skip. But if Ayotte and Hodes are smart ó or if their consultants are smart ó theyíll spend more of their time and money on retail politics and promoting their ideas through non-commercial means.
Iím not hopeful, though. The political parties are vested in a system of money, not ideas. Itís a great system for parties and consultants. They raise the money and choose how to spend it and get a cut raising the money and spending the money. But itís not good for us the voter. Whether you see the government as part of the solution or part of the problem, you want a representative in government to advocate for you, not a party or financial contributors.
Donít get me wrong; Iím not advocating idealogues or voting for Tea Party candidates, Iím suggesting that candidates reach us with their ideas, not their 30-second spots ó that we donít want to watch anymore anyway.
Good economic news of the week: According to the national bureau of statistics the recession ended more than a year ago. Of course it doesnít feel that way to many of us, but things are getting better. My wife and I werenít able to take any time off this summer and decided to take a long weekend in Maine. The first hotel I called had no room available over the Columbus Day weekend; neither did the next two. Not to worry, though; the fourth was the charm. And not to waste more good news, the stock market hit a four-month high. Thatís good news, right?.