George Graham

When Cash is Trash



How much money did Jeb Bush waste running for president? I bet it’s more than a hundred million dollars. All that money gone up in smoke. Think of how many meals it could have bought for hungry children.

But some good might come out of this disastrous profligacy. Americans learned a lesson – an expensive lesson, but worth it. Money alone can’t buy the presidency.

The Supreme Court’s sabotage of American democracy is not working as predicted. The Citizens United decision did not spell the end of government by the people – some of the people, anyway.

Bush flooded the airwaves in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Pundits expected those ads to catapult him to the top of the primary polls. Surprise! Well, perhaps the polls were wrong, perhaps the ads would prove their value on voting day. Not a chance.

Bush was persona non grata with voters. The family name evoked memories of the Iraq disaster, images of dead bodies, burning buildings, crippled children, flag-draped coffins, maimed soldiers…

And wasted money, trillions in wasted money.

Jeb tried at first to shun his brother’s toxic legacy. And when that failed, he embraced it (photo above). He summoned his parents and his brother to rally the Bush loyalists.

But the voters – even Republican hard liners – were once bitten, twice shy. They turned to Donald Trump.

I know, Trump may not not be your choice. He isn’t mine, certainly. But he isn’t the billionaires’ choice, either. For better or worse, he is  looking more and more, like the choice of the Republican rank-and-file.

There’s a lesson there. Trump spends less on advertsing than any other leading candidate yet stubbornly hogs first place. For once. money isn’t talking.

Mega-donors like the Koch Brothers are left scratching their heads, wondering where to place their bets.

The message seems to be more powerful than the medium, after all.

So much for the power of advertising.

So much for the specter of Citizens United.

American democracy is more resilient than that.

Click for more on Jeb’s campaign.

About the author


I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for