Editorial: $137M For What?

How much should democracy cost?
Editorial: $137M For What?



The United States Supreme Court says money is a form of free speech and until another court says otherwise it is. And this editorial board is about nothing if not free speech. But the final numbers from the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign from its analysis of the 15 recall elections over the last two years are staggering. $137 Million dollars was spent by candidates, their political committees and special interest groups. Nearly $81 Million of that was spent in the Walker recall alone.

As the name suggests, the Wisconsin Democracy Campaign isn’t about elections as much as it’s about democracy. And while $137 million bought a lot of elections we’re not sure how much democracy it bought. The numbers are exaggerated further by the times. The needs are so great in this state. That kind of money could have helped a lot of people. We just want to be upfront and realistic about it: sums of money of this magnitude distort our system of government and our relationship to it. It had an effect on the outcomes too – just not the effect some think.