In recent news Ron Paul announced that he will no longer be spending money on his campaign, due to lack of funds, in states that have yet to vote in the Republican primary election, but will continue to work on trying to win delegates. In an open letter to his supporters, Ron Paul wrote, “Our campaign will continue to work in the state convention process. We will continue to take leadership positions, win delegates, and carry a strong message to the Republican National Convention that Liberty is the way of the future. Moving forward, however, we will no longer spend resources campaigning in primaries in states that have not yet voted. Doing so with any hope of success would take many tens of millions of dollars we simply do not have.”
This year in government class we discussed the possible influences money can have on the election process. In my previous post, I talked about the potential corruptive influence of money, but concluded that money is not a corrupting influence in the election process, but is needed for a solid campaign to run smoothly. Ron Paul is now challenging my statement by eliminating money as an influence in his campaign, but continuing to try and win voters and delegates.
Before Ron Paul announced he would no longer fund his campaign, Paul had 104 delegates and Romney had 966 delegates, according to the Associated Press. Ron Paul has only 11 more primaries or caucuses, which ends June 26th, to obtain the 1,144 delegates needed to win. According to an article in USA today, in efforts to stay loyal to his supporters he encouraged them “to make their voices heard by voting in local, state and federal elections, as well as trying to become GOP delegates and running for leadership positions within the party.” With hard work and dedication from his supporters you would think that Ron Paul would still have a chance in the remaining Republican primaries. But without campaign funding, Paul will have trouble winning the race for Republican candidate.
Money plays a vital role in the election process, and ever since the early days of the Republic, money has been a major influence on candidates and their campaigns. There are essentially two points of view regarding the influence of money; as a corrupting influence and as a form of political speech needed in elections. Many Americans believe money distorts the election, and gives some candidates an unfair advantage that goes past the election itself and into the policy making process, but i disagree. And according to political scientist Daniel Shay, it was a common practice to “treat” voters, such as George Washington for example, was said to have purchased a quart of rum, wine, beer, or hard cider for every voter in the district where he ran for the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1751. Since then, money has been used to fuel campaigns, in the form of paying for campaign ads, commercials, media ads, such as TV, radio, and newspaper, and sometimes even a newspaper completely.
By the late 1960’s, money had become critical for 4 main reasons: Decline of path organizations, more voters up for grabs, television, and campaign consultants. All 4 of these reasons changed the way political campaigns are run and are the reasons why money plays such a powerful role in today’s electoral system. These reasons led to efforts to control the flow of money in elections. In response to the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which ended with the court finding limits on corporate and union campaign spending unconstitutional, Heather K. Gerken (Professor of Law at Yale Law School), stated that, “Rather than trying to limit the power of money in politics, we should harness money’s power to fix politics.” So when answering the question of, is money a corrupting influence? I say no. I believe that money is not a corrupting influence in the election process, but that money is needed for a solid campaign to run smoothly.