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Recently there was a Freakonomics podcast that argued more money spent during a political campaign does not equate to more success for that campaign.  I cannot refute their premise because a) I’m sure the statistical analysis they used is very rigorous and b) it ignores two very important other questions. 1. How successful are State or National elections that do NOT spend millions of dollars (i.e. “Can a poor guy actually win an election?”) 2. Do politicians alter their policies and/or provide consideration to political donors once they’re in office? 3. If question 2 is true, what is net financial gain for those altered policies? Fundamentally, if the answers to those questions are “Rarely, if ever”, “Oftentimes, if not always” and “At least n times the amount of the donation where n is the number of reasonably viable candidates” then the rational incentive for a political donor is to give to all reasonably viable candidates.  Now, without specific research to the contrary, I wouldn’t think the ROI for political donations would be anywhere close to the 22,000% it is for lobbyists, but if it’s 1000% (or 10 times individual donations), that would have allowed an organization to donate equally to all of the reasonably viable candidates for the Republican Presidential nomination at the beginning and still come out ahead from an ROI standpoint.  As long as they have the ear of the eventual nominee, they’re ahead of the game. Or, if the organization were even more clever, they’d wait until the Republican nominee were chosen and then donate equally to the Republican and Democratic nominees equally. . . the important thing isn’t who wins or loses, but that you are able to provide input regarding policy creation and implementation once someone is in office. Now, that’s something I’d like to see researched and discussed as a counterpoint.  Sadly, I don’t see the Chicago school acolytes shedding much light on this downside of having a free market electoral system where the price of a candidate’s ear is how much money an organization can make from having it.