Time to turn over a few rocks in our national embarrassment laughingly called a “Presidential Campaign” and expose some of the hypocrisy and just plain smelly business being engaged in by some of the entrants.
One question I hear a lot is “Why do these people with no chance of winning get in, stay in so long and spend so much?” Ah, the multi-million dollar question.
Using information from the Center for Public Integrity - one outfit that truly lives up to its name - the answer is bucks. Big bucks! Even big, BIG bucks!!! Bucks for the never-had-a-chance candidate, political parties and some of the campaign pro’s that make a fine living whether their horse wins or not.
The Center used Ben Carson as an example. Never had a legitimate shot from the get-go and peaked at about six-percent. Look up the word “loser” in your old dictionary and his picture is right there. No chance. No how. No time.
So, he’s suspending his campaign. “It was a complete waste of time and money,” you say. Well, not exactly. You see, what’s left for Ben is a mailing list of 700,000 campaign donors. A mailing list only he has. A mailing list campaign professionals will pay those big bucks for. A mailing list the National GOP would dearly love to add to its data base.
One thing that makes this list so special is what we’ll call the “uniqueness” of Carson. There are thousands of new names that may never have given a dime to any other campaign at any time. Fresh donor “blood,” so to speak. Names, addresses, phone numbers. Very specific information. Virgin donor territory. Each name worth bucks.
“How much,” you ask? The Center figures each name will sell for a minimum of $5.00. Times 700,000. That’s about $3,500,000. In other words, that computerized list can make ol’ Doc Ben a very rich man.
Those numbers come from Walter Lukens who owns Lukens Company - a direct marketing outfit. He’s got a very long list of politicians including John McCain and Ted Cruz. Now, if Carson is willing to personally sign solicitations for other political committees renting that data base, the price per name goes up. Substantially. Even if he just “rents” the information, Lukens believes Carson can make $4 million or so over the next three years.
In fact, Lukens says “As long as he continues to be a viable spokesman for his unique political perspective, he can make money on that list for ever and ever and ever.” So, he’ll keep up those “chicken dinner” shows. He’s already announced he’ll head a new nom-profit (?) foundation.”
And Larry Ross, speaking for the Carson campaign, said “Dr. Carson intends to stay in public life as long as he continues to receive revenue and support of “We The People...” In plain English, as long as the dollars keep coming in, Carson will play the game.
This is not a new scam. Santorum, Fiorina, Huckabee, Walker, Christie and a bucket full of others have done it many times. The most accomplished grifter has been Gingrich. Newt got into the 2008 and 2012 campaigns without a prayer of winning. But, comparing the cost of his videos, books and speaking fees from 2008 to now, they’ve at least tripled. When he and wife Calista do their “motivational” seminars filled with Newt’s losing B.S., ticket prices are much higher now. They’re “celebrities,” doncha know.
Democrats play the game, too. Jim Webb, Jesse Jackson, et al. In the 2008 election cycle, for instance, the Hillary Clinton campaign committee reported more than $3.1 million in mailing list rental income. “Opportunism” knows no political boundaries.
Another major reason to run even a guaranteed losing race is the pile of money left in campaign coffers when you lose. Now, you can’t put it in your pocket and walk off. Though that’s been tried. And you can’t use it to bail yourself out of trouble. Idaho’s Larry Craig can speak to that.
But you CAN distribute those dollars to the campaigns of “friends.” You can buy yourself some favors from individuals and organizations. You can pick up some I-O-U’s that may be very helpful down the line. Might even “buy” yourself a plum appointment at the public trough. Those leftover campaign bucks can open doors, curry favor or send a publically rejected, failed candidate off on a whole new “career.”
Our founding fathers - part time legislators all - never thought of turning our national political system into a cash cow. Their view was do the job and go home.” It took we greedy descendants to figure out how to use faux patriotism and prostitute the political process for our own nest feathering.
Damn. What a country!