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Money in elections

What’s so good about money?

Yes, incumbents can amass huge war chests to scare off opponents, and money can be most effective in competitive races. All that extra spending translates into additional advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts.

In the end, what does that mean?

It means more information about the candidates and issues for voters, increased interest in the campaign and increased voter turnout.

That’s good for democracy.

Focusing on the putative evils of money diminishes the importance of other things that may help or hinder a candidate. Other major elements that can influence the outcome of a campaign: candidates who face national political and economic tides and local political concerns; candidates who choose to challenge formidable incumbents; and many candidates who simply aren’t viable.

It’s easy to see a correlation between winning and fundraising because money flows to likely winners and competitive races.

But, as scholars like to say, correlation is not causation. In the world of politics and campaigns, money is meaningful. It just may not mean what, and as much as, most people think it means.

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Suzanne Robbins is Assistant Professor of political science, University of Florida

Source: The Conversation

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