Forty-two super wealthy individuals gave $200 million to super PACs to “shape” midterm elections, according to USA Today. That was nearly one-third of the $615 million accumulated by all super PACs for the 2014 elections.
Most of this money sought to “shape” contests between Republicans and Democrats. But some went to “shape” races between incumbent Republicans and Republican challengers. About $9 million was used to “shape” the bitter battle between challenger Chris McDaniel and incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. Hardly any super PAC money flowed into the state to “shape” this week’s contest between Democratic challenger Travis Childers and Cochran.
Already super PACs have begun to raise millions upon millions of dollars to “shape” the 2016 presidential primaries and general election.
How the super wealthy use their super PACs to “shape” elections to suit their interests has become big business. There are the media firms that produce TV spots. There are talented direct mail firms that can use your demographic information and voting history to tailor messages just for you. There are robo-call firms that send tailored messages to your home phones. But these sorts of firms have been around for years.
Today the super wealthy also rely on messaging firms with talented staffs and sophisticated data and polling systems who focus everyday on crafting messages that reach you through bloggers, political subgroups, Tweets, Facebook, and so on. Super PACs hire influence leaders, like a Carl Rove, who influence networks of talking heads and political junkies to get their messages out.
Shaping elections is about shaping your beliefs about issues and candidates to suit the interests of the super wealthy who fund the super PACs.
And, what is the chief tactic used to shape your beliefs?
Fear, fear that the other side is taking or will take something away from you – a benefit or a freedom. They use fear to drive your emotions so that you come to dislike or preferably hate the other side.
Think about it.
Do you strongly dislike or hate liberals or the tea party? How about immigrants? Do you hate Obama? Or Ted Cruz? Or big government? Or big business?
It’s one thing to disagree, it’s quite another to dislike or hate. One is rational, the other emotional.
The dysfunction of government in Washington appears to be driven by more than disagreement, there has always been disagreement. Today Washington seems driven by more intense dislike and hate within the base electorate, much of it “shaped” by the super wealthy.
What a twisted situation, especially for a largely Christian state like Mississippi where love your neighbor and your enemy is preached.
So, do you let your politics be “shaped” by the fear/dislike/hate mongers or something more benevolent, like good will? Something to think about as our bitter election experience ends.