Barack Obama and many others would have you believe that the flood of corporate money that was unleashed after the "Citizens United" ruling will drown American democracy. But just how valid is all their moaning? Not very, writes the Economist in its Lexington column. Though special interests are spending five times more money than in the 2006 midterms, the US political system is better protected against this so-called contamination than progressives would have you believe.
For one, money is not a cure-all—Meg Whitman has spent $120 million of her own money, and yet polls behind Jerry Brown, a relative pauper (he's spent $11 million). Once a candidate has spent enough to have strong name recognition, research suggests that the value of each additional dollar falls. The DNC managed to rake in a respectable $16 million last month, and though they've been outspent, trade unions have been doing what they do best: fighting the get-out-the-vote "ground war." "In other words," writes the Economist, it remains "a pretty fair fight."