ThinkProgress: Tuesday, as he conceded defeat in the Virginia governor’s race, Ken Cuccinelli II (R) told supporters that he had come closer than polls had indicated “despite being outspent by an unprecedented $15 million.” But while he and his conservative supporters now lament that money cost them the victory they felt they deserved, they have long been the defenders of the system of campaign finance non-regulation in Virginia and nationally.Business donors are now fleeing the GOP and Tea Party candidates like Cuccinelli in particular. A big part of the reason for this is the GOP’s obsession over debt and deficits to the detriment of the economy and jobs. The Democratic Party is now friendlier to business than Republicans — a position they find themselves in by default, as the GOP abandons anything resembling fiscal realism.
Conservative groups like the Center for Competitive Politics have long argued that “money doesn’t buy elections.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R), whose own political action committee gave $5,000 to Cuccinelli’s campaign, has for years advocated for an end to limits on campaign contributions, believing “money is speech.” While the 2010 Citizens United ruling weakened federal contribution limits, Virginia has long been one of a handful of states with no limits whatsoever. The only restriction Cuccinelli supported over his time in the state senate was on contributions from foreign nationals.
Because of the Old Dominion’s anything goes system, candidates can accept millions of dollars from any individual or corporation seeking to ensure their victory. While Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe raised over $32 million, Cuccinelli himself reported at least $19 million in donations — including hundreds of thousands from fossil fuel companies who preferred a climate-change denier to a candidate focused on green energy.
So the Americans United decision isn’t saving them and their voter suppression schemes aren’t saving them. It seems the only way Republicans have to stop losing elections is to stop trying to tell voters what to think and instead, listen to what voters have to say. They’re not going to like what they hear, but sucks to be them.
Of course, another option would be to push for legislation allowing gun owners to use their Glorious Second Amendment Freedoms to walk into polling places and force everyone to vote GOP at gunpoint. And I wouldn’t put it passed them, because the other ways they’re trying to rig elections just aren’t working.