Massachusetts Senate Race Still Steers Clear Of SuperPAC Interference (Mostly)

from the good-for-them dept

I'd meant to write about this back when it was first announced, but the story got lost in the sea of unwritten stories around here. But with On The Media providing an update, I can revisit it. There's been lots of talk this election season about the rise of SuperPACs and their ability to take unlimited funds and advertise for (or against) political candidates, so long as the candidates don't "coordinate" with the SuperPAC (with "coordination" defined rather loosely). Many of the really nasty attack ads often come from those SuperPACs. However, up in Massachusetts the two major party Senate candidates surprised a lot of people by calling a "truce" back in January against SuperPACs. The way the "pledge" works, is that each candidate agrees if a SuperPAC runs an ad attacking the other one, they'll donate half the ad's costs to a charity within a few days. While the suspicious among you might think that this would lead a SuperPAC to run counteradvertising against the candidate it likes to force the other side to pay up, in reality, it appears to have mostly worked, with very little SuperPAC money showing up in Massachusetts and the TV ads not being nearly as nasty, despite it being a close fight.

Of course, some SuperPACs can't resist. Last week, Brown's campaign admitted that it had donated over $35,000 after SuperPACs had put out ads supporting him, against his own wishes. But those were fairly minor from the sound of it. On the whole, compared to other similar races, the lack of SuperPAC funding has meant a (slightly) more reasonable campaign, with not quite as much smearing.

The obvious question, then, is will other candidates in other races agree to the same kind of pledge? Unfortunately, as the OTM segment notes, that's unlikely. In most cases, SuperPAC money really benefits one party over the other, and no one wants to give up such a major advantage, even if voters think they're really annoyed by negative advertising. Tragically (from a human nature perspective), it still seems like such ads have an impact. That's really too bad on multiple levels. It would be nice if we, as a country, actually moved to a more civilized electoral process. It just seems unlikely to actually happen.

Filed Under: campaigning, elizabeth warren, massachusetts, negative advertising, pact, politics, scott brown, superpacs

Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Sep 2012 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Re:

    If you followed US politics you would quickly realize that soundbites by all political parties are the norm, and context is generally ignored. I have to believe the same is true in most other countries having competing political parties vying for votes.

    What makes the general tenor of the soundbite, even in context, insulting to some is that it is really a poorly disguised appeal to impose a tax increase on those higher up on our "financial ladder". In other words, "You have been successful because others gave you a hand, and, thus, it is only just that you start paying your fair share of taxes." Those to whom this "fair increase" would apply already pay just shy of 70% of all income taxes. If history teaches us anything it is that the definition of "well off" has an unerring tendency to creep downward, virtually assuring that in short order even those of much lesser means would also find themselves on the receiving end of a tax increase. What makes all of this even more pernicious is that many of the "well off" comprise corporations and the like, the very groups that create employment opportunities, precisely the opposite of what should be done when an economy is in the doldrums.

    Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic Party candidate for a seat in the US Senate, chastised the "better off" by saying at a campaign stop that those who are "better off" got there because of public infrastructure (schools, roads, buildings, etc.) that "the rest of us paid for". One would expect that a law professor at Harvard would understand that those who have started businesses and succeeded are an integral part of "us", likewise having paid taxes for such infrastructure.

    While I recognize that some may disagree, I believe our society is ill served by those trying to foster an environment of class envy in a craven attempt to sway voters to vote for them, and especially now as we attempt to turn around our economy.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here

Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter

Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: I Invented Email
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.