In September, Bloomberg Politics released the results of a poll that showed public opinion is overwhelmingly against the unregulated money raised and spent in politics. A substantial “78 percent of those responding said the Citizens United ruling should be overturned,” with just 17 percent in support of it.
So, at a time when money impacts politics more than Americans would like for it to, the GOP side of this election is proving that money can’t buy an election, at least at the presidential level. According to an NBC News analysis, Jeb Bush has spent nearly $30 million on television ads ($28.4 million from Right to Rise Super PAC, $460,000 from his campaign). However, Bush is stuck at just 5 percent in the polls.
By contrast, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have spent the least of any candidate. Cruz has shelled out about $665,000 ($462K from campaign, rest from Super PACs) and is tied at 5 percent with Bush. Donald Trump has spent just $217,000 and gets 27 percent of Republican voters according to the latest Quinnipiac poll.
The other big spender in the race is Marco Rubio, with his campaign and Super PACs doling out $10.6 million in advertising. Unlike Bush, however, Rubio is actually seeing some success from his ads with 17 percent in the polls.
Donald Trump is scoring an insane amount of free media from news outlets who are intrigued by the impending trainwreck of the GOP. It’s as if the media can’t believe it and, as a result, are fascinated. At the same time, comedians are in hog heaven with so much insanity to mock and supporters who are blindly following Trump off the political cliff. Not a night goes by that at least one of the late shows does a joke or segment about Trump, his campaign, or his supporters.
Only Trump could score this kind of free media, however. There are candidates who are just as irrational, like Huckabee for example. Yet even the former Arkansas Governor can’t manage to break higher than single digits in polls or raise enough money to go up on TV. Maybe this is the new model for campaigns. If candidates can say the most insane thing that gets them tons of attention there is actually an audience that will follow them. Is this the future of the GOP? It wouldn’t all that surprising.
That said, if I’m on the Bush campaign, I’m concerned. This is an indictment that his campaign, his ads and his candidacy aren’t working. Not even Bush can buy his way to victory and chances are, he never will. Good riddance to bad rubbish.
Featured image via Flickr