Monday, November 07, 2016


"Do politicians get their money's worth from their consultants?" PBS NewsHour 11/1/2016


SUMMARY:  Political consultants have obtained an exalted status in contemporary politics.  But for their sky-high fees, and in an era when Donald Trump won his party's nomination without the help of experienced campaigners, what do consultants really offer a candidate?  As part of a collaboration between The Atlantic and the PBS NewsHour, Judy Woodruff interviews journalist Molly Ball about what she found.

JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour):  Regardless of the outcome on Election Day, political scientists have already begun studying this groundbreaking campaign.

One tantalizing subject, the true value of political consultants.  Are they worth the millions they charge politicians each year?

Atlantic Magazine writer Molly Ball explores this question in her article, “There's Nothing Better Than a Scared, Rich Candidate.”

What a great quote.


MOLLY BALL, The Atlantic:  Yes.

That is a quotation from a book by a political scientist about the political consulting industry.  And it's something that a consultant said to him that just really summed up what I was getting at with this article, which was kind of asking the question, is this all a con game, this political consulting racket?

Candidates are spending billions of dollars, and what are they really getting for it?  Or is it just the consultants lining their pockets?

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Well, this is a question that has been asked for some time, but it comes into particular relief this year, doesn't it?

MOLLY BALL:  That's right.

I mean, first of all, look at what happened particularly in the Republican primaries.  You had the two extremes.  You had Jeb Bush spent $130 million, end up with four delegates.

JEB BUSH (R), Former Governor, Florida:  I'm Jeb Bush, and I approve this message.

MOLLY BALL:  Donald Trump spent almost nothing......

DONALD TRUMP (R), Presidential Nominee:  I'm not doing that to brag, because you know what?  I don't have to brag.  I don't have to, believe it or not.

MOLLY BALL:  .....Had no experienced consultants on his staff, nobody who'd ever run a presidential campaign before, and barely advertised on television, didn't do any of the tactical stuff we're used to and we write about so much, building of field operation and having a communications shop and all of that stuff.  And he won the whole thing.

DONALD TRUMP:  I humbly and gratefully accept your nomination.


MOLLY BALL:  So, the question is, does that mean the emperor has no clothes?  Does that mean that all this spending — there's more money in politics than ever before.  Because of the way campaign finance has been deregulated*, donor money is pouring into the political process.  There's, by one estimate, $6 billion this year alone.

Where is all that money going, what is it doing, and is it having any effect?

* Thanks to:

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