After elections like the one earlier this month, Republicans and conservatives always whine about being outspent by the other side. And indeed they’re usually correct, In the biggest political battles in 2023, conservatives were pummeled in fundraising in Kentucky (Governor’s race), Pennsylvania (Supreme Court), Virginia (Legislature) and Ohio (Abortion initiative).
Not surprisingly, Republicans/conservatives lost every one of these races.
But why are conservatives always shocked they got outraised and outspent?
Government unions are the #1 contributor to liberal causes and candidates. And the unions are monolithic—they give to only one side. Business groups, on the other hand, give money to both sides. I call it “spreading peanut butter”—everybody gets a little bit.
Unions are not going to change their habits and either are business groups. Over the past 9 years, Freedom Foundation lawyers have deposed several union leaders. I sat in on some of these depositions and one thing was clear: Union CEOs handpick their Board members and they tolerate no dissent. One SEIU President stated that for 10 years every vote by his Board was unanimous. And every vote was to give 100% of their money to Democrat candidates.
Business groups are not monolithic. CEOs of business trade associations don’t handpick their Board members. And their Boards are comprised of Rs and Ds, conservatives and liberals. So naturally these groups give money to both Rs and Ds.
The deck is stacked against conservative candidates and causes. The only solution—the only way to level the playing field– is to limit the amount of funds unions have to spend on politics.