Originally posted by Teinosuke
The authors of Freakonomics (Steven Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner) certainly argued that campaign spending (in general, not solely on advertising) had a near-negligible impact on the outcome of elections. David Brooks commented a couple of weeks ago in the New York Times that:
"Political scientists have tried to measure the effectiveness of campaign spen hole article is worth reading:
I believe that the one area where the ads have an effect is when a candidate is a total unknown and the ads allow the voters to see and hear the candidate and have some idea of what their message is. But beyond that, it's waste.
So this leads to an interesting idea that future candidates might consider.
A candidate can declare that he will voluntarily limit the amount of money his campaign spends (including ads by supporters not directly affiliated with the campaign) to a specific (relatively low) amount -- no matter how much money the opposition spends. He can argue that studies have yet to prove that all this money makes any difference -- so why go through all the trouble of selling one's soul to the highest bidder when you can just remain true to your own values and still win the election?
What if there was an election where a whole bunch of these candidates did this -- and won? What if the whole paradigm justifying the massive campaign donations by special interests was smashed?