The day after an election in which the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent millions of dollarsbacking losing Republican candidates, executives began the brutal process of assessing what went wrong at the nation’s leading business organization.Yes, the amount of money outside groups poured into this election was absolutely obscene. And what they got from it? If they're paying attention, the lesson that they can't buy it all. Though don't count on that being the message they take away from this experience.
The Chamber spent nearly $24 million to defeat several high-profile Democratic Senate candidates, including Sen. Sherrod Brown in Ohio, former governor Timothy M. Kaine in Virginia and Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. But out of 15 Senate races where the business organization put down money, only two went the Chamber’s way.
The results were not much better in the House, where the Chamber poured more than $7 million into 22 races, according to the CRP. The Chamber’s candidates picked up only four wins.
The Supreme Court Citizens United decision was just about the most undemocratic thing to happen in campaigns in forever, and still has to be overcome, but it wasn't the death knell to democracy. We beat them. With a ton of $5, $15, and $30 donations from us and millions like us. As the good Dr. Dean has been telling us for so long, we have the power.