Why Clinton's Stash of 'Dark Money' Couldn't Save Her

When Donald Trump won the presidency on Tuesday night, he didn't just dash Hillary Clinton's hopes — he also overcame millions of campaign and "dark money" dollars spent against him. In every area of campaign finance, Clinton's raised (and almost certainly spent) more money but "money can't buy you love" — or votes, for that matter.

"Trump's victory is another reminder that money cannot buy votes," David Keating, president of the Center for Competitive Politics, told PJ Media in an email statement. "Campaign spending facilitates speech, and ads can only persuade voters who support the candidate's message. The media's fascination with campaign spending and so-called 'dark money' caused them to forget the simple fact that voters decide elections."


According to data from the Center for Competitive Politics, Clinton outspent Trump more than 2 to 1, Pro-Clinton ads outnumbered pro-Trump ads 3 to 1, "dark money" groups for Clinton outspent those backing Trump 3 to 1, Clinton backers ran 3 times as many ads in battleground states, and the three biggest super PACs each backed a losing candidate.

In other words, if you believe like Bernie Sanders said over and over and over again, that "millionaires and billionaires" buy elections, 2016 should be a blaring wake-up call.

It is important to note that Trump won narrowly, and he seems to have lost the popular vote. It is impossible to tell how many people were convinced to vote one way or another by any particular ad. Nevertheless, money did not sway the final results of the election.

Here are 5 ways campaign spending failed to save Hillary in November.

1. Clinton outspent Trump: 2 to 1.

As of October 28, Clinton and those supporting her campaign had raised over $687.3 million. This is 2.2 times the $306.9 million raised by Trump and his supporters.

While this is the amount of money raised as opposed to the amount spent, political campaigns almost always spend all the money they raise. Furthermore, Clinton's campaign started spending money on ads earlier than Trump's, which means she likely got more air time per dollar spent.

2. Pro-Clinton ads outnumbered pro-Trump ads 3 to 1.

Team Clinton accounted for 75 percent of cable TV ads in the presidential race, according to a Center for Public Integrity analysis of data from the ad tracking group Kantar Media/CMAG.

Clinton and her allies combined to air more than 383,000 TV ads from June 12 through November 6, while Trump and his allies aired about 125,000 ads. Clinton's campaign alone was responsible for more than 282,000 ads, about 55 percent of all TV ads in the race since June. Trump's campaign, by contrast, aired only 85,000 ads.

Even in super PAC ads, Clinton enjoyed a huge advantage over Trump. Priorities USA Action, the main pro-Clinton PAC, aired 77,000 TV ads, only about 10,000 ads fewer than Trump's campaign. The Republican's biggest ally on the airwaves was the National Rifle Association, which aired about 14,000 pro-Trump or anti-Clinton ads.

Next Page: Clinton's "Dark Money" advantage.