Saturday, August 1, 2015

Two Ledes, A Body Paragraph, And A Tweeted Mashup Sum Up American Politics

The first lede is from today's New York Times:
Fewer than four hundred families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the 2016 presidential campaign, a concentration of political donors that is unprecedented in the modern era.
The vast majority of the $388 million backing presidential candidates this year is being channeled to groups that can accept unlimited contributions in support of candidates from almost any source. The speed with which such “super PACs” can raise money — sometimes bringing in tens of millions of dollars from a few businesses or individuals in a matter of days — has allowed them to build enormous campaign war chests in a fraction of the time that it would take the candidates, who are restricted in how much they can accept from a single donor. [emphasis mine]
The second, from yesterday's Wall Street Journal re-frames the numbers:
Billionaires are bankrolling the early days of the 2016 presidential campaign to an unprecedented degree, with at least 40 of the wealthiest Americans plowing $60 million into super PACs aligned with the top tier of candidates.
The torrent of super PAC money is revolutionizing presidential politics in the wake of a 2010 Supreme Court ruling that opened the door to unlimited contributions from corporations, unions and individuals into these outside groups.
Super PACs backing 17 presidential candidates raised more than $250 million in the first six months of this year, roughly doubling the $125 million raised by the candidates for their campaigns, disclosure reports filed Friday with the Federal Election Commission show. [emphasis mine]
The New York Times also provides a body paragraph that makes one think that contemporary elections exist so that the real-life equivalents of Randolph and Mortimer Duke can wager a dollar on the outcome:
Many of the country’s biggest donors are not only financial peers but also friends, members of an elite class of contributors who gather at a series of enclaves around the year, from the Club for Growth’s annual Palm Beach retreat on the right, to the closed-door meetings of the liberal Democracy Alliance on the left. Some live or work in the same buildings in New York or Chicago.
The mashup in this tweet seems to capture contemporary politics fairly accurately even if done technically poorly.

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