Though hype around super Political Action Committees has been high after the Supreme Court expanded First Amendment protections for election spending, their influence has been limited.
As Republican strategists fret about Donald Trump winning due to a crowded GOP field too crowded for a united Trump opposition, they’re too concerned about super PACs, David Karol argues in the Washington Post.
The idea that candidates with deep campaign funds from super PACs will stay in the race with little popular support concerns some in the GOP.
Yet it’s overblown.
Karol points to Rick Perry’s exit to back him up. Though Perry had strong super PAC funds, the money couldn’t overcome his lack of support.
Scott Walker had a similar experience. Walker gained support early on, but as his poll numbers crumbled, he was forced to bow out, even with heavy financial support.
The GOP concern over super PACs is similar to Democratic opposition to them, but with different motivations. Democratic candidates aren’t opposed to super PACs — Hillary Clinton’s super PAC has raised almost $16 million to support her — but the Democratic Party has been vocal about the corruption of democracy that campaign spending brings.
Regardless of the motivations, both criticisms of super PACs have been overblown.
The rich have always funded candidates, though candidates such as Bernie Sanders, Ben Carson, and Rand Paul have had success with small donations from a large donor base. Unpopular, well-funded candidates can stick around longer than unpopular, weakly funded candidates, but unless they can appeal to the voter base, campaign cash isn’t an important factor.