It’s conventional wisdom that money can buy an election, and that be true to an extent. However, for the Jeb Bush campaign, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Bush came into the campaign with a plan to raise huge amounts of money and then deliver a “shock and awe” effect on competitors fearing they can’t compete with such a massive war chest. The war chest itself materialized, but the results from spending $50 million so far has had no effect in changing Bush’s poll numbers.
Report from the Washington Post:
The super PAC supporting Jeb Bush is racing through its massive war chest much faster than money is coming in, spending close to $50 million in a record blitz that has so far failed to lift the former Florida governor’s sputtering presidential candidacy.
The group, Right to Rise, has already gone through nearly half of the $103 million it brought in during the first half of the year, records show. It raised only about $13 million in the five months that followed, according to a person familiar with the figure.
That leaves the super PAC with about $67 million heading into the first 2016 GOP nominating contests. The sum still surpasses the resources of rival groups, but it is not clear whether Right to Rise’s financial might — viewed earlier this year as Bush’s distinct advantage — will be enough to help separate him from the pack.
The group’s muted impact so far represents a confounding reality of this year’s unconventional campaign: Money is no longer a clear barometer of success.
In a traditional campaign, the candidate with the money tends to rise to the top. In 2016, the traditional rules need not apply as we witness Bush with a massive war chest, more than any of his rivals, fail to secure any movement in the polls. He has spent the most in New Hampshire, but is still fighting with Chris Christie for sixth place, a terrible position to be in after spending so much.
For some reason, many of the big donors are planning to unleash ads on Donald Trump with the goal of knocking him out of the top spot. Jeb Bush was unable to do so in New Hampshire, or anywhere else, so I’m not sure why they think it will be successful a second, third, or fourth time.
Coupled with the right candidate, money can be a powerful force in politics, just ask President Barack Obama. He as able to overcome the Clinton machine with massive fundraising hauls which eventually put him in the White House.