Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

Why the New York Times can’t see 120 million homes

Jerry Stratton, October 12, 2015

Ann Althouse noticed some basic math this morning that seems to have eluded the New York Times. The Times complains that only 158 homes donated nearly half of the early money to campaigns, and used Monopoly graphics to illustrate the point. Ann first makes some smart points about the poor reporting, but then goes on to the newspaper’s math defects:

That said, what I really want to talk about is that pile of Monopoly houses, far, far outnumbering the hotels. There are 120 million households, and 158 spend half of what is spent, and amount that’s only $176 million. If all of the households gave just $5, that would be $600 million, vastly overwhelming those supposedly fearsome, overspending, rich, white men. That money could be given directly to that candidate (since it comes, obviously, nowhere near the limit).

Instead of complaining about 158 families spending $176 million (which strikes me as a fairly paltry amount, especially since only $2,700 can be given to a candidate), the clamor should be about the need for everyone to give just a little money to someone. Skip one cup of coffee, one cheeseburger, one movie, and give the money to the candidate you like best. It could be so easy.

There’s a reason that the Times doesn’t consider those 120 million to be a solution: they might donate to the wrong candidate. Left to their own devices, those homes might donate to a Trump, a Carson, a Fiorina, a Cruz, or even a Lessig. They can’t be trusted to donate wisely.

The laws that the Times supports are just as likely to deprive those 120 million of the right to support the candidate of their choice as they are to deprive the 158; more so, because the 158 have the money to find ways around the law.

I expect that the Times considers this a feature, not a bug, since they, also, give significant resources to candidates, and they don’t want the 120 million empowering a candidate they disapprove of to fight back against biased coverage that the Times donates to their preferred candidates.

The Times doesn’t want to even the playing field between the rich few and the middle class; they want to tilt the playing field in favor of the New York Times and other news organizations, who, they assume, will not be forbidden from reporting the news and will thus be able to continue their biased reporting.

The only way the New York Times would support mass donations is if they were filtered through a government program, to ensure that the donations went to an approved candidate; the Times would really like a candidate approval committee such as Iran’s.

Ironically, the only candidate I’m aware of who has proposed something like that is Lawrence Lessig. He wants to take people’s money, give them back a voucher, and let them donate that voucher to a candidate. If they neglect to donate their voucher, the money will go to an established party or to a government bureaucrat.

It would be interesting to see what kind of businesses would sprout up to facilitate laundering those vouchers back into money, or at least product. I’d expect a lot more Trumps announcing their candidacy and then opening a marketplace of cheap junk.

Maybe the New York Times could run for office and sell subscriptions.

In response to The Make-Believe Media’s New Normal: Whoever wins the election will be the new Sarah Palin. But they’re all acting like John McCain, obliviously unaware that the press might turn on them the moment they win the primary.

  1. <- The media’s lies work
  2. Trump outsmarts left ->