Good news for the people out there who are not also corporations: Corporate and super PAC spending blitzes don't always carry the day in American politics.
Sometimes people who are just people, and not also corporations, come out on top.
Post-election analyses have shown that Sheldon Adelson, Karl Rove and disguised money in general were big losers in the Nov. 6 elections. Rove's American Crossroads PAC saw a minuscule return on investment for the $104 million it spent in the general election, according to the nonpartisan Sunlight Foundation. Just two of the 13 candidates it spent money opposing lost their races and none of the six Republican races it supported won. Another Rove-led group, Crossroads GPS, which spent $70 million on the fall elections, saw a better return-on-investment of about 14 percent but still saw poor results. Seven of the 24 candidates it opposed lost and none of the three races it supported won. All told, about $500 million in super PAC money was spent to elect Mitt Romney and other Republicans, and most of it went into television attack ads.
Democrats spent lots of money, too, at least $200 million, but used it much differently. It focused on the ground game, rooting out voters in swing states and getting out the vote. Studies have shown that personal contact is the most effective way to ensure votes. It was the Democrats who validated that theory this time around.
If this outcome makes an impression on U.S. politics, the winner will be voters, especially those in swing states who were subjected to incessant attack ads. There's little chance wealthy donors will stop giving to outside groups. But perhaps those groups will be somewhat more inclined to spend their money in ways that don't involve mass media and nasty, negative ads.