Maybe we can't handle the truth

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John O'Connor, Editorial Director
John O'Connor, Editorial Director

If you thought elections were expensive before, just wait.

The Supreme Court has decided that corporations and unions are really no different from regular folk when it comes to sponsoring elections. As a result, we're about to see a spending spree that would shame King Louis XVI.

For providers, the takeaway from this new economic reality is hardly encouraging. For when it comes to legislative affairs, the new bottom line is that it will cost you much more to accomplish much less. How much more? Well, when the polls close on Nov. 6, it's estimated that more than $6 billion will have been spent to finance the presidential and congressional elections. That's right, $6 billion.

And that doesn't include state or local races. And if you a believer in the quaint notion that most of these dollars will be used to create better-informed voters, think again.

This new cash influx will likely underwrite some of the most nasty, underhanded, unfair messages ever conceived. It promises to be incredibly shameless. But it's hard to blame the people looking to gain or retain elected office.

Negative ads work. If they didn't, their use would stop. We like to pretend that we want to be informed about the candidates: where they stand on the issues, what they will likely do if elected, and where their true loyalties lie. But truth be told, that's mostly window dressing.

What We the People really seem to want is a good old fashioned gladiator fight. We really are suckers. Time and time again, we fall for the telegenic guy (almost always a guy) who makes a more convincing argument for the half-truths he's peddling. But this is proving to be an expensive habit. And the mounting campaign costs are just the beginning.


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Daily Editors' Notes

McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.