John Nichols on Money in Politics: $10 Billion in Political ads in 2012 (video)

John Nichols of "The Nation" speaking in Tucson in March 2015
John Nichols of "The Nation" speaking in Tucson in March 2015
John Nichols of “The Nation” speaking in Tucson in March 2015

One issue that unites millions of voters is  their disgust for big-money politics and their hatred of misleading, negative political advertising.

When I go door-to-door with my campaign flier, I introduce myself as a progressive Democrat (which usually gets a smile and a nod) and a Clean Elections candidate (which brightens their eyes and widens their smiles). Voters are fed up with big-money politics and lies.

Earlier today, I was looking for a video on my Tucson Progressive YouTube Channel and found this clip from a speech that John Nichols of “The Nation” gave in Tucson in March 2015 at a Progressive Democrats of America event.

In this clip (below), Nichols theorizes that the negative advertising itself suppresses voter turnout. He reports that $10 billion was spent on political advertising in 2012 and 90% of it was negative advertising to disparage candidates. In 2014, with continued negative advertising, the US had the lowest voter turnout since 1942– during World War II.

If $10 billion was wasted on political advertising in 2012, what will be spent in 2016? If we want to save our democracy, we must get money out of politics.

If rich folks have enough expendable income to waste $10 billion on advertising, I think they can afford to pay higher taxes.



  1. We live in a strange country where the two Koch brothers will spend $900 million this year on political races. According to the Washington Post, they now have 1600 staffers in 38 states:

    When all is said and done, I think Bernie Sanders will have raised around $200 million, with over 8 million contributions from several million supporters. So two Americans will outspend all of the Bernie supporters by some $700 million.

    And besides the Koch’s, there is Sheldon Adelson, who will probably spend $200 million this cycle on Trump and others.

    Perhaps it is time for Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, and others to join Tom Steyer in supporting our side.

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