Savitri Era of those who adore, Om Sri Aurobindo and The Mother.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Honest politics needs honest money

Resource constraints stymied Lok Satta In elections: Dr. JP
from Jayaprakash Narayan's Blog by tnsatish

Had the Lok Satta had Rs.40 crore as its election fund, it would have emerged as a significant player in Andhra Pradesh politics today, Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan said today. Addressing a media meet, at which he released a statement of donations received and expenditure incurred by his party during the elections to the Assembly and the Lok Satta, Dr. JP said the party was handicapped by paucity of resources in engendering confidence about its fighting mettle.

Although the party succeeded in taking its message to the public, it could not whip up a wind in its favor because of its low-key campaign. Dr. JP pointed out that a political party cannot function without resources. “Honest politics needs honest money. The party accepted donations only by cheque, accounted for every rupee it spent and placed the facts before the public.” Dr. JP called upon leaders of competence and integrity from all walks of life to make the Lok Satta their forum for bettering people’s lives.

Notations: Money And Politics Bruce Bartlett, 06.12.09, 12:01 AM EDT
Why spending millions on personal campaigns might help you lose.

Ask any political consultant what is the most important thing needed to win an election, and he will undoubtedly say, "Money and lots of it." But the reality is that while money helps, it doesn't automatically follow that the guy with the most is going to win. Tuesday's primary election in Virginia provides the latest evidence of this fact.

Mark Hanna of Ohio was one of the first modern political bosses, responsible for putting William McKinley in the White House in 1896 in large part because he raised an unprecedented amount of money--more than $3 billion in today's economy. (Having William Jennings Bryan as an opponent didn't hurt; he went on to lose the White House two more times.) [...]

Steen concludes that money is far less valuable to winning an election than is commonly believed and that funds contributed by a candidate to his own campaign are far less valuable than the same amount of money acquired from contributors. She estimates that $1 million in self-financing only buys 5% to 10% of the vote on Election Day.

Other analysts have found that money is grossly overestimated as an electoral factor. In a 1994 study, economist Steve Levitt found that $100,000 in additional campaign dollars only bought one-third of 1% of the vote.

Campaign consultants will continue to maintain that more money is always better than less. But it's in their interest to say so because that's how they get rich. But as Terry McAuliffe discovered too late, it takes a lot more than just money to win an election... Source: Bruce Bartlett is a former Treasury Department economist and the author of Reaganomics: Supply-Side Economics in Action and Impostor: How George W. Bush Bankrupted America and Betrayed the Reagan Legacy. He writes a weekly column for

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