In an email shortly after President Obama had been re-elected, my boss here at All Things Democrat wrote:
“Tonight, the “corporations are people” argument lost.”
We had in fact beaten back the billion dollar right wing money beasts. Karl Rove and his PAC pals had misjudged both their candidate, and the electorate, which would prove to be the case in many state campaigns as well. This election cycle would be the most expensive in history according to The New York Times:
[...] In the first seven weeks of 2012, about two dozen individuals, couples or corporations gave $1 million or more to Republican super PACs. Collectively, their contributions totaled more than $50 million, making them easily the most influential and powerful political donors in politics today.
…the scale of outside spending was similarly staggering: more than $1 billion, about triple the amount in 2010.
Conservatives are still in shock that Obama prevailed; but what Karl Rove and others like him underestimated, was Barack Obama’s connection with the average citizen. There’s a difference between voters’ enthusiasm for, and faith in Obama, compared to Republicans’ support for “anyone who’s not Obama”.
According to Politico:
Mitt Romney was expected to use a billionaire-fueled fundraising juggernaut to crush President Barack Obama’s once vaunted small-donor army.
But Obama’s constituency fought back against the attempts of the select few to buy the election. When President Obama’s campaign out-raised Mitt Romney’s campaign in August, it was due to grassroots donations. As ABC reported at the time:
Obama campaign manager Jim Messina wrote in a statement that the campaign fought back “substantially” against the “special interests writing limitless checks to support Mitt Romney.”
“Fueled by contributions from more than 1.1 million Americans donating an average of $58 — more than 317,000 who had never contributed to the campaign before — we raised a total of more than $114 million,” wrote Messina. “That is a critical down payment on the organization we are building across the country, the largest grassroots campaign in history.”
In fact, The New York Times reported:
Over all, 55 percent of the Obama campaign’s money through the end of September came in donations of less than $200, including from many people who have repeatedly sent in small checks over the course of the campaign. Just 13 percent of his checks were for $2,500, the maximum that donors are allowed to contribute for either the primary or general election.
“…never, in the history of presidential politics, in either party, has field organizing been done in such a people-centered, data-driven way.”
The last obstacle to be faced by Obama supporters would be voting itself, and the 1% had their hands all over that. The American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, is an organization backed by large corporations, which drafts legislation on their behalf, then passes it along to legislators to present as their own. They created the model for most, if not all of the anti-voter legislation Republicans introduced in 37 states in 2011 and 2012.
Yet, with billions of dollars at their disposal, and Republican state legislatures more than willing to impede voting, what explains Obama’s victory- David beating the SuperPAC Goliaths?
He was the better man, and his party, the better party. No amount of money could put a positive spin on what Mitt Romney and the Republican Party are: a selfish society unto themselves that feels no shared citizenship with the rest of America.
As Julie Ajinkya wrote for the Center For American Progress:
If this election taught us anything, it’s that the majority of our country agrees with the ideas behind progressive policies. Americans sided with the candidates in this election who promoted tolerance and inclusion and believed in rebuilding a country that works for all, not just a select few…