So, as everyone knows by now, Hillary Clinton is laying an absolute mollywhomping on Donald Trump in terms of fundraising, having over $42 million on hand to his $1.3 million. There are candidates for Water Reclamation boards that have more than $1.3 million.
The reasons are both obvious and not so obvious. Clinton, of course, is a very experienced fundraiser and knows how to play the game. Indeed, that’s the main thing that people don’t like about her: her comfort with big money. Trump’s pathetic fundraising is because he doesn’t want to do the work of being President, much in the same way he didn’t want to be an actual businessman, just a guy who could con suckers and take advantage of bankruptcy laws to make money. Or maybe that is an actual businessman. Regardless. It’s a weird combination of laziness, arrogance, and unsleeping avarice. It’s the spirit of his campaign.
Needless to say, there is a bit of an uncomfortable glee among Democrats, and obvious charges of hypocrisy. Democrats, in the main, don’t like the role of money, and loathe the Citizens United decision that opened the floodgates to jowly barbarians looking to destroy the social safety net, tear up any environmental legislation, and basically make the government little more than a tool for regulating sexual behavior. So it is weird to be dancing under a rain of money.
Hillary, in particular, has come under the most fire for this. It was in April that Glenn Greenwald argued that Clinton was undermining the anti-Citizens United front by saying that while she was accepting money, she was not being corrupted by it. On the surface, that makes a certain amount of sense. The argument is that money is inherently corrupting, which is a valid argument, but the option is to a) not take any money for an expensive campaign and lose or b) say “yup, I’m corrupt.”
It’s a weird and extremely leftier-than-thou argument, because it demands a kind of impossible purity that would rather lose elections, and have no chance at making better laws. Would I rather that there wasn’t this kind of money in politics? Of course- and that’s exactly why I’m voting for Hillary Clinton in the fall. I voted for Bernie in the primary, but millions of more people chose another candidate. An imperfect one (as was Bernie!) but someone who is far better on the issues I care about, including money in politics, than her opponent.
There is a thread of argument that says Hillary is insincere in her opposition to Citizen’s United, or at least sincere for the wrong reasons. This stemmed from a debate line about campaign finance.
And let’s remember, Citizens United, one of the worst Supreme Court decisions in our country’s history, was actually a case about a right-wing attack on me and my campaign. A right-wing organization took aim at me and ended up damaging our entire democracy. So, yes, you’re not going to find anybody more committed to aggressive campaign finance reform than me.