The Corner

Did Billionaires Buy the 2014 Senate Elections?

One of the more amusing subplots of the 2014 election cycle was Harry Reid’s fixation on the Koch brothers, the billionaire philanthropists and libertarian political activists who own one of the world’s largest privately-held companies. In recent years, the Kochs have broadened their portfolio from funding various libertarian causes to spending heavily on behalf of GOP candidates, and to rallying other right-leaning donors into coordinating their political efforts. They stepped up their efforts in 2014, and you can see why Reid was so exercised. Judging by his over-the-top rhetoric, you’d almost think he believed that if weren’t for the Kochs, he’d still be Senate majority leader. But was Reid right to suggest that the Kochs bought the 2014 the election for the GOP? Alan Abramowitz, a political scientist at Emory University, carefully analyzes the claim that outside spending by wealthy conservative donors like the Kochs made a difference in the 2014 Senate elections, and he finds that it almost certainly did not. But I can’t imagine Reid has any regrets about making such a stink about the Kochs — I imagine it was a very effective way to get left-leaning billionaires and millionaires to open their wallets. 

 

Reihan Salam — Reihan Salam is executive editor of National Review and a National Review Institute policy fellow.

Most Popular

Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More