This has been a question in many elections through the years; can big money buy votes for candidates and certain initiatives? Well, the same question is becoming a hot topic in the state of Washington over the battle for an initiative for background checks for all gun owners and other elements of a closely watched initiative…I-594 and I-591. Regardless of where you live, this is one to watch and follow.
While the topic is something that will be popping up in just about every state at some point, adding more laws around gun transfers and background checks, it is reaching the polls in Washington State this fall. I wrote an earlier post starting an initial discussion about the elements of the two issues, but this is something different. This is about how money…money from the “Super Rich”…can potentially impact the results of an election.
There is big money coming in from some of the “Super Rich” in the Washington State area, names you would certainly recognize. People such as Bill and Melinda Gates, Michael Bloomberg, Paul Allen, Steve Ballmer, Rich Barton and others top this list of “Super Rich Supporters.” So with all this big money coming into the campaign, will it affect the outcome? This is a question many gun owners (as well as others) are anxiously awaiting come November.
In the case of Washington State, there is a catalyst behind all of this by the name of Nick Hanauer, founder of venture firm Second Avenue Partners in Seattle. He has become a huge supporter of the initiative and with his connections in the tech industry he is bringing big money into the campaign. It is reported he personally has also donated $2M of his own money. With his efforts, the I-594 initiative gun owners don’t want passed has raised significantly more money than it’s competing I-591 initiative. Is this the real sentiment of the majority of voters or is it just because the campaign of one can significantly out spend the other campaign? This is the real question when there is such a discrepancy in funding support.
And time will tell whether they have more political power because of the amount of communications they can generate or not. The big question people are asking is “can big money buy more media coverage to sway an election from what the majority of voters might be thinking?” We may never know the answer to this but it is becoming a hot topic among gun owners all around the country. The other side of this wonders if the powers of Social Media and online discussions carry more voter influence than the traditional media carry today. It has shown to be the case in other elections and initiatives so it will be interesting to see how this enters into the results as well.
Either way, it’s going to be an exciting November in Washington State and will definitely have impact in our state as well. It’s just a matter of time before these types of initiatives come into our area in some fashion and if big money can potentially influence the vote in Washington State, it has the potential to do it here as well. Stay tuned…I will share some updates and more thoughts on this as it progresses.