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PNS Daily Newscast - November 21, 2018 


Senators from both sides of the aisle want Trump to clear the air on the Khashoggi killing. Also on the Wednesday rundown: Massachusetts leads the U.S. in the fentanyl-overdose death rate; plus we will let you know why business want to preserve New Mexico’s special places.

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Are NH Dollars Buying Votes? Campaign Finance Research Says "Yes"

New research indicates low- and middle-income voters have little chance of influencing major policy decisions when they are stacked up against billionaires and other special interests. (Ben Schumin/wiki).
New research indicates low- and middle-income voters have little chance of influencing major policy decisions when they are stacked up against billionaires and other special interests. (Ben Schumin/wiki).
August 31, 2016

CONCORD, N.H. - As public outrage over the influence of money in politics continues to grow, seen in both the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump campaigns, a new study provides compelling evidence that the U.S. political system is more "one dollar one vote" than "one person one vote."

Olivia Zink, executive director of the group Open Democracy, said the research supports similar findings in New Hampshire that indicate that the poor and middle class have virtually zero influence on government when policies are opposed by billionaires.

"I'm really happy to find credible academic research confirming the gut feeling of most Americans that special interests and billionaires, and these organizations that pop up just before the election and disappear right after, only really exist to influence elections," she said.

Zink said this is a big reason that Open Democracy is pushing for its "We the People" pledge, which calls for overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, and for federal funding of elections and making sure that campaign finance laws are enforced.

A team led by Thomas Ferguson, director of research at the Institute for New Economic Thinking, tapped big data on congressional races and discovered a stark correlation.

"Basically, you get the percentage of votes that you have of the percentage of money," Ferguson said. "It's an amazingly crass relationship, and it's very direct and it holds for hundreds of elections."

Researchers created a chart to track spending and votes in U.S. Senate and House races since 1980. If money and votes were unrelated, Ferguson said, the chart would be scattered. Almost without exception, he said, the results produced a straight line; when parties spend little to no money, they get the fewest votes, and spending the most money results in the most votes.

The INET study is online at ineteconomics.org.

Mike Clifford, Public News Service - NH