Can The Golden Rule Be Broken? (Part 1)
We’ve all heard the Golden Rule time and again: reciprocity. Give others the same treatment as you would want back at you. But there’s another Golden Rule out there that usually wins the day: Whoever has the gold, makes the rules. For election campaigns, it couldn’t be more true. In over 90% of cases, the campaign that spends the most money, wins. Below is a great illustration of that reality broken down by individual Congressional races in each state.
This Golden Rule’s legitimacy has been more solidified as of late with the creation of SuperPACs that can spend and receive unlimited amounts of money (they have little cute names for them too).
This year will be no different. The Golden Rule will be in effect, and many thousands of sacrificial lambs up and down the ticket will get pummeled against a well-entrenched incumbent, regardless of party, and there will be no mercy. But for entertainment value if anything else, Redd Group Research has gone back and found some races who beat the odds. The amazing victories from candidates that had relatively little or no money but still won anyway.
In Part 1 of this series, we will focus on this year’s GOP Presidential Primary. Billionaire Donald Trump ran a rather frugal campaign in comparison to his competitors and still came over the top. Self-funding his campaign, he tried his best to be as cheap as possible as anyone spending their own money would. He made up for the lack of money spent by using more efficient ways to get his name out, like Twitter and using his powers of persuasion to brand his opponents in ways they most certainly did not want to be portrayed as. A humorous parody example shown below:
The chart below shows the GOP Primary vote breakdown: (scroll on the chart to see the vote totals)
(Source: The Green Papers)
Now, compare that to the total expenditures each campaign spent during the Primary:
(Source: Open Secrets)
Trump gets 45% of the vote. 1st place. But he only spent the 5th most and only 11.6% of the total expenditures of the primary.
To show how efficient the strategy was, have a look at the cost-per-vote average for each candidate:
Trump was the most efficient in winning votes. Then to add insult to injury, here’s the cost when you apply it to the delegates who were elected to the RNC Convention:
(Source: The Green Papers)
Jeb Bush spent $46 Million per delegate. Ben Carson and Rand Paul didn’t fare much better either.
The moral of this story is that’s it’s not the size of the war chest, it’s how you use it.
So if you’re running for office and don’t have a lot of money to throw around in a campaign, you will have to use a lot of asymmetrical tactics to work around the money issue. It can be done but requires a lot of determination and a greater desire to win. In Part 2, Redd Group Research will show a few more examples of those who beat the odds, the scoffers, and a mountain of money to win their races. Other blogs to follow every few days to be sure to subscribe or bookmark us.
P.S. Get a fundraiser with an attitude like this guy:
Ahhhh… Vintage C-SPAN