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Why You Lose Elections
by Jim Babka
I know the SECRET to defeating
partisan incumbents. By sharing it with you, I hope to cure...
The Citizens United Disease
We get nasty messages whenever we say anything good
about the Citizens United decision (CU).
This is a by-product of self-serving brainwashing
from the political class. Both incumbents and the media have
incentives to lie about campaign finance laws in general, and
the CU decision in particular. Here’s the truth...
Campaign finance laws...
- Protect partisan incumbents from challengers.
- Help the regime media dominate public opinion.
These incentives lead both incumbents and
the media to tell big lies about the CU decision...
Lie #1: CU overturned a century of
campaign finance law.
False. It only overturned
aspects of two decisions from 2003 and
Lie #2: CU allows corporations to
make unregulated campaign contributions.
False. Corporate donations are
still regulated. All candidate donations
are still regulated. CU does only one narrow thing...
It allows corporations, including DownsizeDC.org,
Inc., to spend money advocating for or against candidates,
as long as that spending is NOT
coordinated with a candidate. All direct
contributions to candidates are still
Now, to fully comprehend why the political class
hates this narrow change so much, you must understand...
The Secret to Defeating Incumbents
- The best way to defeat an incumbent is to get
him or her to spend lots of money
- But that will only happen if the challenger
also has money
Here’s my favorite example...
George Nethercutt defeated Speaker of the House Tom
Foley in 1994. That hadn't been done in 134 years (or since).
Nethercutt had FAR LESS money than Foley. But he
had ENOUGH funding to make Foley start spending his own money.
Then, something funny happened...
The more money Foley spent, the more he lost
People noticed and poured more funding into
Nethercutt’s challenge. So Foley did the only thing he could.
He spent more money too.
And the more he spent, the more his poll numbers
Here’s how the logic works...
The incumbent has already peaked. That’s what it
means to win office. He can't go much higher, no matter how
much money he spends. But...
The challenger starts in the basement. She can only
go up. But that climb requires dollars.
- Money matters more to challengers than
- Regulating contributions benefits incumbents by
So why do incumbents amass large war chests if the
extra dollars lack marginal value?
Simply, to scare off strong challengers!
So here’s what the challenger faces...
- The more she can force an incumbent to spend
his war-chest, the more likely that incumbent is to lose
- But to force an incumbent to spend, the
challenger must start with a competitive amount of money
- Raising money is easy for the incumbent,
because he has access to sell
- But raising money is hard for the challenger,
because she has to start from scratch and her prospects are,
Nearly all start-up businesses face this
So they borrow or raise large amounts from
wealthier people. This also used to work in politics. For
A major donor gave Eugene McCarthy $200,000 to
start his 1968 presidential campaign. McCarthy claimed that
this capital allowed him to scare Lyndon Johnson out of his
But this kind of challenge is now illegal.
Imagine how much the economy would struggle if was
illegal for start-up companies to raise large amounts of
The CU decision was a TINY step toward
correcting the problem.
It would be better if corporations and wealthy
people could donate large amounts to challengers directly. But
until we get this natural freedom restored, allowing
corporations to do independent expenditures could be the spark
that starts a viable challenge to incumbent power.
Meanwhile, ask yourself this...
Is there more or less cronyism since the campaign
finance laws were passed?
I think the answer is obvious to any honest
observer. Cronyism has grown worse. This is the natural
outcome of protecting incumbents from challengers.
Please be clear about this — The
campaign finance laws don’t deliver what they promise. They
give us the exact opposite.
So how can we solve this problem?
We must fight for what the regime media already has
— a fully functioning freedom of the PRESS.
Free speech may not cost money, but
running a press does.
The establishment media can already join together
in groups to raise unlimited amounts to dominate the public
discussion about politics. YOU must have this same right.
We’ve pushed this argument before the courts in case after
We must also challenge the doctrine of “compelling
state interest,” which allows the Courts to throw away your
rights just because The State claims it has a compelling
We began this fight with our Danielczyk brief, and
now we’re working to continue it with a brief in a case called
Shaun McCutcheon v. FEC.
You now know things about CU and the
campaign finance laws that very few Americans understand.
But this knowledge is useless if you do nothing with it. If
you won't act, who will?
Downsize DC Foundation
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You can follow Jim Babka on Twitter @JimBabka
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