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13 June 2012

Common Cents

From the looks of my Twitter feed, I'm not the only one who was caught off guard by my Indiana compatriot Fabio Rojas' post over at orgtheory.net early yesterday morning claiming that political campaigns (and thus deregulated money in politics) don't matter. A couple of thoughts on that.

First, as far as I know (and please correct me if I'm wrong), no research on campaign contributions have yet incorporated post-Citizens United data. It's possible that previous regulations had been keeping undue influence at bay. We simply don't know if the unmonitored explosion of funding that has happened over the last two years has changed the game. I suspect that there will be enough evidence after November to draw some solid conclusions.

Second, even if Fabio is right about the practical limitations of financial contributions in political campaigns, democracy is importantly about symbolic power. (See previous posts here and here.) If the public perception--regardless of its accuracy--is that money buys influence and/or victory, money does indeed matter.

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