Bradley A. Smith
Money can be an equalizer even when it is unequal. Consider all the free media that Donald Trump receives. Because he’s colorful and controversial, the press covers his every utterance. His competitors, however, have to rely much more on paid media to reach voters. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton has raised far more than Sanders, but if we limited candidate spending, as some advocate, Hillary would already be taking a victory lap thanks to high name recognition, support from the Democratic Party, and a media that presupposed her nomination. Spending has helped Bernie compete, despite being outspent. And for thousands of Americans excited by Sanders’ campaign, contributing is the one thing they can realistically do to help.
But while money is critical to inform the public and give all views a hearing, this election proves once again that money can’t make voters like the views they hear. Jeb Bush is not the only lavishly funded candidate to drop out of the race – Rick Perry, Scott Walker and others also raised and spent considerable sums.