Could McCain be skewered by his own law?

Could McCain be skewered by his own law?


    Will Obama be able to outspend him by three or four to one?

One statistic that came out of Tuesday’s Wisconsin primary was that in the TV advertising war in the state Barack Obama spent five times as much as the cash-starved Clinton campaign. That’s a massive difference and might have had an impact on the outcome.

Looking forward to a McCain-Obama contest in November could the Democratic campaign have a similar overwhelming advantage? And if it does could the main cause have been the pioneering legislation that John McCain helped pushed through Congress six years ago. Quite simply could the likely GOP nominee be skewered by his own bill?

To give an idea of the battle he had to fight to get the legislation I’ve reproduced part of the cover of a National Rifle Association publication that was used to campaign against the McCain-Feingold bill – the law that, amongst other things, restricts the amount someone can give to a campaign to $2300.

A big consequence of this is that it puts a premium on being able to attract a mass of small donations – something which the traditional US political fundraising machines have never really paid attention to. It’s so much easier to get one person to give you $100,000 than to get 2000 people to give you $50.

Howard Dean saw the potential ahead of his abortive 2004 bid and Obama has followed in his wake. Both used the internet extensively and both built up massive databases of supporters. It’s now being suggested that the Illinois senator is heading towards a total of one million individual donors – almost all of whom can be contacted instantly by email and have yet to be “maxed” out, that is given the legal maximum.

Another problem that McCain faces is that last year he bid for federal funding, a key condition of which is a strict limit on what can be spent. He’s now trying to get out of that but is being told that he might have to stick with this.

If this is going to be down to money – then Barack looks like a winner.

White House race betting is here.

  • Could we use this thread for US politics only and continue discussion on UK developments on the previous one?

Mike Smithson

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