Thursday, 31 December 2015

The Political Consultant Racket and other news and views

The Political Consultant Racket - Consultants want their clients to win, but they also need their businesses to survive. Despite mounting evidence that the effects of TV on the electorate can be uncertain and often short-lived, television remains the single largest expenditure in most campaigns because candidates think they need it to win — and because it is the most reliable source of revenue and the most lucrative part of the consulting business. The economic incentives of the consulting industry are driving up the cost of campaigns. ... In some ways, consultants are like the microscopic bugs in our gut that help us metabolize food: Consultants help candidates and campaigns metabolize money, but their work leaves the body politic hungry for more. The result is a system of big money donors, expensive campaigns and incessant political ads. Free speech is not really free. Money talks in American politics, and the political consulting industry is the main beneficiary — no matter which candidate eventually wins.

The More We Poll, the Less We Know

Are Primary Polls Finally Predictive? No, but This Is When the Fun Starts

Democrats, Beware: Billionaires Can Still Buy Elections Very Easily - Does money matter in politics anymore? If you focus on just presidential elections, you might be inclined to say no. At least, that’s the opinion Gabriel Sherman amplifies in New York magazine, pointing to the two—OK, one and a half—post–Citizens United elections and finding Republican mega-donors disappointed by their efforts to use super PACs to buy a president. ... There are areas of politics where a flood of money can make a huge difference: namely, virtually everything but the presidential race. Super PACs in lower-profile elections don’t have to contend with pre-drawn narratives and rigid top-of-the-ticket voting patterns.

Climate Chaos, Across the Map

What a turn-up for the books: a big spending, big taxing Liberal party - Put conventional wisdom aside. Malcolm Turnbull’s party is delivering high government spending and high taxation and that’s big government, not small.

Asia in 2016: Elections - Countries with a combined population of over 400m will go to the polls in Asia in 2016. Uncertain economic conditions will favour incumbents. In the majority of cases The Economist Intelligence Unit expects the government or those aligned with the incumbent administration to be returned.

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