Of course, with the failure of the Democrats’ recall attempt in Wisconsin, there is much grumbling from that side about the amount of money that was spent by the Republicans, most notably funded from the Koch brothers. I, too, question the economic motivation of funneling that much cash into an election in Wisconsin, but one thing I am sick of hearing about is how democracy has been sold to the highest bidder. Let me tell you all something here: no matter how you may hate the result, no matter how much you may dislike Walker, THIS ELECTION WAS NOT BOUGHT!! I’m tired of hearing this claim.
Now, you may say “look at all the money they spent!” Yeah? Well, what did they spend it on? Advertising? Are you going to tell me that Scott Walker gets to finish out his term as governor because he bought more advertising? Seriously? I want you to think about that for a moment.
The only way to “buy” an election is to bribe election officials (you know, the ones entrusted to ensure that the vote counting is fair and that everyone voting is actually eligible to vote). That’s it! The only way to buy an election is changing the result from the inside! You can’t buy voters, you can only try to reduce their numbers and mislead them – maybe even lie to them. But you can’t buy them! I would love to have Charles or David Koch come up to me and pay me a million dollars to vote the way they want. I would get that money up front – that’s not negotiable, walk into the voting booth, and VOTE HOWEVER THE HELL I WANTED TO ANYWAY! And there is absolutely no way they can tell what I did. It’s stupid to even think that an election can be turned that way. Now trying to get voters disqualified from voting is more effective, but that is not “buying” an election.
Getting back to the whole notion of “advertising equals votes”: if the voters of Wisconsin could be convinced to presumably vote against their own interests because of Walker’s political advertising, that says much more about the laziness and gullibility of the voters than it ever will about those who were financing the campaign. Politicians can be bought, but they still have to get into office. Voters – voters who are short-term thinkers, voters who are too lazy to research what a candidate endorses or has done in the past, voters who may reflexively vote for one party over another – are the ones who put elected officials into office. It’s high time that voters start taking responsibility for the choices they make and stop blaming anyone and everyone else for the consequences.