Mitt Romney outspent Rick Santorum better than ten to one in GOP primary states voting or caucusing on Super Tuesday. The result: Santorum won in Tennessee, Oklahoma, and North Dakota; Romney won in Massachussetts, Virginia, Vermont, and Idaho, and won by a whisker in Ohio. And Newt Gingrich, who also has spent much less than Romney, won big in Georgia.
Is this an example of money talks, everyone walks your way in voting booths across America? Hardly. Rather, these results show that people vote their hearts and minds, whatever media saturation may say to the contrary.
Which I think is a very good thing, even though I would not vote for any of these candidates in any election. But a defeat for money is a good thing for democracy in America. I’ve been saying, ever since the outrcry against Citizen’s United — the Supreme Court decision which unleashed big spending and corporate financing of campaigns — that it’s no big deal. Because, as John Milton and Thomas Jefferson saw: as long as there’s some truth in the field, no amount of falsity – in today’s terms, false advertising – can drown it out.
Of course, people will differ on what they perceive to be truth. I think the greater truth resides with the policies of Barack Obama as what America most needs. But what we certainly don’t need is a Presidential election determined by money, and Romney’s weak showing decisively says that’s unlikely to happen.
Paul Levinson, PhD, is Professor of Communication & Media Studies at Fordham University in NYC. His nonfiction books, including The Soft Edge (1997), Digital McLuhan (1999), Realspace (2003), Cellphone (2004), and New New Media (2009), have been translated into ten languages. He reviews television in his InfiniteRegress.tv blog, and was listed in The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s “Top 10 Academic Twitterers” in 2009. Follow him @PaulLev
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