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

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 5 Sep 2012 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh geez, you're right >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

    But they aren't the only ones who paid for such infrastructure, and if you're at the present moment, you're missing both the past and the future. Guess where we were before infrastructure?

    Right, we were all pretty bad off. And we all paid to make that infrastructure, ESPECIALLY roads, electricity, and communications. (Private infrastructure tends to make private profit; see bridges, some fibre, (most of it is paid for at least partially with gov't grants, thus why the cablecos are often required to carry each others signals), logistics networks, shipping networks, etc.)

    At the current moment, only some people, (well, families, this is a generation crossing thing), have profited from that public infrastructure. The rest of us . . . still poor.

    Whether or not you like it, paying forward continues to be part of the social contract.

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