Here in Oregon, Portland has twenty-three candidates on the ballot for mayor. Twenty-three!
With that number you can bet that at least one of them is a socialist. At least one is clinically depressed. At least one tears up when singing the National Anthem. At least one has had an extramarital affair. At least one bounces checks. At least one collects pornography on a home computer. At least one cares for a disabled adult relative. Probably more than one are genuinely nice people for whom there is no place in politics. One is a sociopath; one is a psychopath; one is an animal lover. At least one should be locked up; hell, one has been locked up. Probably one inherited money, and probably another one started from nothing and made money. At least one is a religious fanatic, probably. The problem is -- who? How can you tell?
So, look at the externalities. Only a small number of them have spent a lot of money promoting themselves for the job. All the signs and ads reveal that. We know who has spent a lot of money. Is that the one we vote for, on the ground that at least we know something about them?
I know this. Few people who have a lot of money money will spend it without expectation of return of value of some kind, even if it is just to get their vanity bump rubbed. And I know that the job of mayor doesn't pay all that well, to justify the kind of money that is being spent. And the prestige of the job isn't really all that great. It's kind of like being voted Most Courteous for your high school year book. I mean it's something, but not quite . . . as meaningful to others as it is to your mother.
So, as to the big spenders for the mayoral election, well, I have to wonder who do they really represent. No. Really. Where is the money coming from? Really, who do they represent?