October 17, 2017

MARK PENN: You Can’t Buy the Presidency for $100,000.

This is the same Mark Penn who’s been polling for the Clintons for two decades:

Look at the bigger picture. Every day, Americans see hundreds of ads on TV and radio, in newspapers and magazines, on billboards and smartphones. North Americans post to Facebook something like a billion times a day, and during the election many of those messages were about politics. Facebook typically runs about $40 million worth of advertising a day in North America.

Then consider the scale of American presidential elections. Hillary Clinton’s total campaign budget, including associated committees, was $1.4 billion. Mr. Trump and his allies had about $1 billion. Even a full $100,000 of Russian ads would have erased just 0.025% of Hillary’s financial advantage. In the last week of the campaign alone, Mrs. Clinton’s super PAC dumped $6 million in ads into Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

I have 40 years of experience in politics, and this Russian ad buy, mostly after the election anyway, simply does not add up to a carefully targeted campaign to move voters. It takes tens of millions of dollars to deliver meaningful messages to the contested portion of the electorate. Converting someone who voted for the other party last time is an enormously difficult task. Swing voters in states like Ohio or Florida are typically barraged with 50% or more of a campaign’s budget. Try watching TV in those states the week before an election and you will see how jammed the airwaves are.

Yes, but it’s much easier for Democrats to blame Russia than to admit that Hillary squandered a billion dollars of donor money and her husband’s legacy on the most tin-eared and inept campaign since Mike Dukakis went on sabbatical just as Lee Atwater’s attack machine went into full gear.

Plus: “The only way Russia will get its money’s worth is if Washington overreacts and narrows the very freedoms that make America different in the first place.”

That’s what I’ve been arguing on this page for months now.

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