So if you had two candidates for city office in a city where campaign laws limit donations to a fairly modest sum to prevent undue influence by the rich, and you saw a story like this one:
(Candidate B) appears to be gaining ground. She raised $44,885 in the past few weeks, loaned her campaign another $40,000[…]
(Candidate A) has raised nearly $170,000 since the fall â€” nearly $100,000 of it from early January to early April, the period reflected in Thursdayâ€™s finance reports.
which one of those candidates do you think the media could, responsibly and rationally, call the “little guy” or the “establishment candidate”? Which one do you think would be painted as the rich one in bed with the old money in Austin, and which one do you think would be painted as the voice of the masses?
Well, you’d be wrong.
Randi Shade has gotten more people to donate money to her – and Kathie Tovo, the supposed ‘voice of the neighborhoods’, is loaning herself money that most of us couldn’t afford to get to a run-off. Shade has deeper and broader support among the population as a whole, obviously, while Tovo is relying on the fact that the Austin Neighborhoods Council, the most conservative political entity in the city representing purely the interests of the wealthiest central homeowners, is a turnout machine especially in the lowest-turnout elections (run-offs).
Wait a minute, I hear you saying, the Austin Neighborhoods Council? Conservative? Rich?
It’s a dirty little secret, occasionally alluded to even in the horribly biased Austin Chronicle, that the Austin Neighborhoods Council is really representing what one of their writers called the landed gentry. For instance, as I wrote back in the days of the McMansion Ordinance in this post: