The Daily Beast's Paul Begala says money matters in politics and a good "ground game" is not enough to overcome campaign ads. Walker's opponents were able to boost turnout among Democrats and progressives, but it just wasn't sufficient.
As the great political strategist Lyle Lovett sang, “No finance, no romance.” They won’t fall in love with you if they don’t hear your message. And that means M-O-N-E-Y. Walker’s campaign raised an astonishing $30.5 million. The campaign of his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett? Just $3.9 million. Outside groups then compounded the asymmetry, pouring tens of millions into Wisconsin, the vast majority of it going to the pro-Walker side. You cannot get outspent by that kind of margin and win, period.
It has become fashionable in progressive circles for activists and donors to delude themselves into thinking that a tidal wave of advertising can be answered by an army of grassroots organizers. It can’t. Sure, person-to-person campaigning is necessary—but it is not sufficient. Without a competitive media campaign, even the best grassroots organization will fail.