Why do people give money to candidates who have no chance of winning?
January 5th, 2012
04:00 PM ET

Why do people give money to candidates who have no chance of winning?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

If you go to the race track, do you bet your money on a three-legged horse? No – you bet your money on a four-legged horse that has a chance of winning the race.

So why is it when it comes to politics some people insist on betting on horses that have no chance of winning?

Several of the Republican presidential wannabes are raking in loads of campaign cash despite the fact that they have virtually no chance of being the nominee.

Rick Santorum, who came close to defeating Mitt Romney in Iowa, has raised more than $1 million since the caucuses Tuesday.

Yes, Santorum placed a very close second in Iowa, but that was largely due to his appeal among social conservatives and evangelicals. And that's not something that will translate in many of the upcoming races. He stands to lose badly in New Hampshire.

Meanwhile, Ron Paul raised an impressive $13 million in the last three months. That tops the $8 million he raised in the previous quarter. Paul has a passionate group of supporters. He, too, ran well in Iowa, but again, chances are he won't be the Republican nominee.

Newt Gingrich also raised $10 million in the last quarter, but some of that came when he was spiking in the polls. And that is now history.

Of course, none of these compare to Romney's expected haul of $20 million in the last three months.

But that's the thing, you can understand why people might plunk their money down on Romney to win.

Romney is looking more and more like the party's nominee every day. He is expected to win by a landslide in New Hampshire, and it seems unlikely at this point that there is anyone – or anything – that can stop him.

Here’s my question to you: Why do people give money to candidates who have no chance of winning?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

Annie in Atlanta:
Stupidity and ignorance. And there certainly are people out there who know how to take advantage of a good thing when they see it. How much is Palin worth now? What a racket.

Richard in Texas:
They are wishful thinkers, and they believe that if enough people think like they do then their candidate might have a shot. They surely wouldn't go far without donations now would they? Poor people do not run for president and usually the one with the most money wins–not the best candidate.

T. in Oklahoma:
Because they can. I donate to anyone whose views match mine, regardless of the state they live in. It is so they can be given a platform.

Janet in Oregon:
I would guess it's the same reason people sit in front of their televisions writing 'seed money' checks to televangelists. They aren't using their brains! They are expecting their donations will create 'miracles'. With just a little use of their available thought processes, they would realize that they are merely helping the rich get richer, and in no way are they helping themselves.

I am not entirely sure, but if we look at what is happening with Santorum, they are doing it with the hope that he gains on the front-runner. Additionally, it is a way to feel empowered beyond the voting box to fortify your beliefs and support those that are of like mind.

Jeffrey in Toledo, Ohio:
I've done this myself a few times - usually because "None of the Above" is not a ballot option.

Posted by
Filed under: 2012 Election • Election Funding • Elections • Money
soundoff (208 Responses)
  1. Russ in PA

    I presume you are referring primarily to Ron Paul with such a question. Perhaps many of us are supporting the candidate of freedom and liberty, not the candidate(s) that follow the two-party line that does nothing but reward crony capitalism. One could say that we are supporting a cause, not a person. Perhaps we choose principle over political theater.

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    January 5, 2012 at 12:27 pm |
  2. David (Arizona)

    The fact that the people will give money to a candidate that does not have a chance of winning shows that the Republican Parties and Constituents are bumping around blind without focus and their platform is to get Obama out of the White House. What have Congress, the Republicans and House of Representatives done lately and why are they doing what they are doing? It is in support of making Obama a one term president.

    January 5, 2012 at 12:31 pm |
  3. Steve

    If more people did, candidates wouldn't have to rely on SuperPacs and big private donors and the system would work better! Give to your candidate today!


    January 5, 2012 at 12:34 pm |
  4. Herman Portland OR

    Jack, you cannot call an election before it is over. All the candidates have been campaigning for many months and still have money left to spend on their views and the views of their supporters. There are candidates that are dropping out of the race when it is clear they cannot go on. Unfortunately it is usually because they are out of money but not always. The race is not over till it's over. I would suggest that if there is any money left over the candidate that steps down would support or endorse a candidate that is still running and contribute any money that is left to their campaign.

    January 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  5. Larry in Houston

    Good Question Jack. People just has hope, is all. They "take a chance" that their candidate "maybe" have some type of chance of getting In. I know you're talking about R.P. ( of course) But take a good look at Perot / and good 'ol Ralph Nader. I remember years ago, when Nader knew he couldn't be elected, but he would get enough Votes to sway the election. Or have more Votes to a certain state that has more Democrat Delagates, or more Republican Delegates. I'm sure you've noticed that nobody like Nader or Perot, or Trump, aren't getting IN (for now) (or anybody else, for that matter) since this election will be a close one, as far as trying to get a Republican Nominated.
    In my opinion, I think if the "newter" has the money, he can go all the way, but doubt if he's got the money & the ground "game" – the Newter may last until Florida is over. so, Romney will probably end up being the nominee, in the end. I suspect Perry will try once again, since he made the calls to his millionaire friends. I guess those millionaire friends of his want him to "try it again" "in S.C."" I'd also guess they already told him that If he doesn't come in , at least 2nd or 3rd, they would probably not give him any more support. ( this means : "cut out the Money" ) SO – that means, Romney will end up the one, they will rally behind. As far as Huntsman goes, I think he will run out of "steam" by the time Florida starts Voting.

    Larry in Houston

    January 5, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
  6. Oliver El Paso, TX

    Taxes deductible.

    January 5, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
  7. Greg Kells Cleveland OH

    Money seems to be the measure of a candidates chances. When the media tells us someone in unelectable, we give money in hopes of changing that. Many of us are tired of being told who is "elecatable", so when a candidate inspires us, we react. Usually those candidates are marginalized or worse in the media, and need that money to keep their campaign afloat.

    January 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm |
  8. Greg in Arkansas

    People spend money on the (Power-Ball) Lottery where the odds of winning are over 195 million to one, knowing that they probably will NOT win, but for the experience of "renting the dream of being rich" so it stands to reason that they will give money to "no chance" candidates with the hope of an upset.......
    Me, I'll stick with the lottery, the odds are better and "I" get to spend the rewards.....

    January 5, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
  9. David R Bebeau,Springfield Missouri

    Gosh !! Jack................I honestly have no idea.Maybe a write off or for favors from K street.............after all Jack
    they run our nation.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
  10. Doug Ericson

    The short answer is a sense of personal validation. Now, if I may digress. Reasons for contibuting to certain candidates. 1. Rick Perry. Because they like the way he salutes before each debate. 2. Newt Gingrich. Because now that he is riled up, they want to see how nasty he is going to get. 3. Ron Paul. Because they miss Martin Short's Ed Grimsley character that Short performed on Saturday Night Live. 4. Rick Santorum. Because he looks like Sylvester Stalone 5. Huntsman. Because they already forgot his first name. Doug, pepperell, MA.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  11. Mr. D

    It must be the same reason that people buy lotto tickets-they think they will win. Darn the odds, fully speed ahead.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
  12. Brian

    I am not entirely sure, but if we look at what is happening with Santurum, they are doing it with the hope that the person gains on the front-runner. Additionally, it is a way to feel empowered beyond the voting box to fortify your beliefs and support those that are of like mind. I did it for Obama and am proud to be able to continue to do it again!

    January 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  13. Janet from Agness, OR

    I would guess it's the same reason people sit in front of their televisions writing 'seed money' checks to televangilists. They aren't using their brains! They are expecting their donations to create 'miracles'. With just a little use of their available thought processes, they would realize that they are merely helping the rich get richer, and in no way are they helping themselves

    January 5, 2012 at 1:22 pm |
  14. John from Alabama

    Jack: Why do people places bets on horse races? Gambling is a disease for most of the peop0le in America who hug slot machine and blackjack tables. People will bet 50 to 1 odds on a candidate to win his race knowinf full well their candidate could not win with any amount of support. They invest their time to show there appreication by investing there time and dollars. Sometimes they invest their yime and money to repay a debt they might owe a parent of a candidate.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  15. Jayne in NH

    Let me quote the wisdom of Forrest Gump: stupid is as stupid does.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:36 pm |
  16. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    Jack, I think one of the main reasons is some people think they are doing God's work. These people probably belong to a church who also recommends they contribute to certain individual campaign. The same type person is the reason why there are so many rich TV evangelists. I never contributed to a campaign in my life. But if I were to win the lottery and become a millionaire I would join the Republican Party and contribute money to the candidate who stands the best chance of winning. The Republican Party protects millionaires especially ones who contribute to their campaign.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  17. Karl in Silverton ID

    They probably think a candidate is a better choice than a lottery ticket.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  18. Dave - Phx

    Because there is a sucker born every minute. Why do people give money to politicians period? Oh yeah, for the payback they receive once eleceted.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  19. Bill of New Mexico

    They ignore negatives in their candidate.

    They ignore positives in their candidate's opponents.

    They believe what their candidate preaches.

    They live vicariously through their candidate.

    When they give money to their candidate, they know he will love them.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  20. Karl in Flint

    There are three reasons:
    1.- A tax deduction.
    2.- Oblivious to reality.
    3.- Wishful thinking.
    In any case it's to make them feel good in their beliefs that they are supporting an election system for either the betterment of America or to elect someone they think will benefit them personally regardless of the odds or electability of the candidate.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  21. Ricky Pomales

    Same reasons the media keep talking about them, "democracy"
    Romney-Bush (Jeff) "The dream ticket"
    Ricky Pomales Concord NH

    January 5, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  22. Terry Wells -Hoosier Hillbilly-Greensburg,IN

    That's like asking why do people gamble.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  23. Julien wa

    True convictions wrong solutions and short sighted national interest.

    January 5, 2012 at 1:56 pm |
  24. David of Alexandria VA

    I don;t know, Jack. But maybe they are the same people who are still wearing Redskins T shirts in Washingfon.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  25. Susan UP of MI

    The answer to this one is easy: Because they're STUPID!!
    Too bad they aren't smart enough to donate that money to the ones who really need it, ie: the POOR.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  26. Ed from MD

    Because If they have a lot of money they have a better chance of winning.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
  27. Brad, Portland, OR

    It's just proof that they're disconnected from reality.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  28. Dan in Aluququerque

    Jack, it's because fervent supporters are often as dogmatic as religious zealots. They believe they and their favorite candidate are truly the light shining through the darkness, and believe everyone will get aboard when the message is repeated enough with expensive advertising. They don't believe polls unless they are in their favor, so they forge blindly ahead.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  29. Randy

    Because they're pawns for the ruling class who despite all their talk about wanting "free markets" are afraid of people like Ron Paul and Ralph Nader who would give them truly free markets. Free markets to them is socializing losses and privatizing gains.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  30. Pat, Twin Falls, Idaho

    Excuse me, But they're Stupid !!

    January 5, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  31. TomInRochNY

    Why do dogs chase their tail? It's something to do while you're waiting for something to happen.

    Tom, Rochester, NY

    January 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
  32. Phyllis G. Williams

    Why do people give money to candidates who have no chance of winning?

    This shows unconditional love. We all see the sacrificing, financial distress
    of these candidates but not all of us can do anything about it.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm |

    Keeping hope alive!!! What they SHOULD do is donate their $$ to charity.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
  34. Chuck Reichmuth

    Perhaps they believe that the electoral process is still legitimate and they support their candidate.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
  35. Chris from New Hampshire

    Because if they don't have money then they remain a candidate with no chance to win.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  36. Thinkforyourself, OK

    Because they can. I donate to anyone whose views match mine, regardless of the state they live in. It is so they can be given a platform.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  37. MNResident

    Why do people watch a cable news network that almost nobody else watches? It's the same question.....

    January 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
  38. Richard Texas

    Well for two reasons mostly. The first is they are wishful thinkers and they believe that if enough people think like they do then their candidate might have a shot. They surly wouldn't go far without donations now would they? Poor people do not run for president and usually the one with the most money wins not the best candidate. The candidates do not have to pay the money back if they lose.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  39. Annie, Atlanta

    Stupidity and ignorance. And there certainly are people out there who know how to take advantage of a good thing when they see it. How much is Palin worth now? What a racket.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  40. kim smith, Dodge City, Ks.

    Nobody ever said that people with money to burn, or waste, or give to a lost cause, are smart. Politicians play these people for the suckers that they are. The sad thing is that that money could have gone to a charity so someone who has a genuine need could be helped. If you send money to a politician, any politician, you are a fool and should be accorded no pity for your loss.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  41. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Hope is a good thing and maybe these people have the hope that their candidate will survive the relentless persuit of the news media tearing their lives apart and win.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  42. tom bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    It's an invest for power brokers like the Koch brothers. Congress will busy itself with naming post offices, and reasserting our national motto, if they know that keeps campaign contributions coming in.

    Big Money rewards friends and it Romneyizes enemies. An individual campaign is just a skirmish in the war of politics. Politicians like Walker are just cannon fodder to Kochs.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  43. Gary H. Boyd

    Unrealistic idealism Jack. They're the same folks who believe in the Easter Bunny and the tooth fairy.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    January 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  44. Jeffery, Toledo, Ohio

    I've done this myself a few times–usually beause "None of the Above" is not a ballot option.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
  45. Dennis in Florida

    Just because people have money doesn’t mean they are smart. As Barnum said, “There is one born every minute.”

    Someone should interview the 57 or so clowns that voted for Herman Cain the other evening in Iowa. They may not have wasted their money, but they sure wasted their vote. What part of putting things on hold ( QUITTING ) don’t they understand.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  46. Dave R

    It means people have the freedom to spend their own money however they chose.

    January 5, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  47. Alex in Bremerton, WA

    To ensure that their views are discussed in the modern public square. (Money is speech, right, Jack?) Evangelicals, for example, give to the socially conservative candidates so that they can qualify for the debates and express their views on abortion and marriage. First Bachmann, then Perry and now Santorum literally bring their issues to center stage at the debates since candidates with the best polling results get the center podiums.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  48. Wilhelm von Nord Bach

    to quote Forrest Gump, "stupid is as stupid does"., Jack

    God knows WHY people send money to any of the televangelist charlatans, but they DO. I guess we Americans are just easily scammed. after all, we live in a country where the likes of Kardashian family and Paris Hilton are considered "celebrities"

    January 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  49. Ben Levine

    From Minnesota

    The media does not have the authority to decide who wins or who has a chance at winning – the American people do. A dollar then is never wasted on a candidate if he/she is the one you believe in. "When you choose the lesser of two evils, always remember that it is still an evil." That's why I donate to the candidate I want to win, not the inevitable nominee "front runner" (Mtit Romney) that the media tries to hand pick.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  50. Noel Sivertson New Mexico

    Just in case. They don't want to be left out n the cold if that candidate were to beat the odds. But even the losers still have poliical pull and they can still open doors in Washingon. They aren't betting on electability, they are buying influence through a third party.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  51. Larry -Denver

    Sometimes people with too much money are not assured of not having common sense or having too much time on their hands. As an old professor told me, when you dont know where you are going, any road gets you there, hence their need to give money to any cause.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  52. Paul - North Carolina

    They are either currying political favors, supporting what they mistakenly believe is a worthy cause or they foolishly think that people like Michelle Bachman, Ron Paul or Rick Perry could be president. As a political moderate, I don't donate to any candidates or party. I base my votes on what I discern a given candidate's position is on issues important to me. If they are not trustworthy enough to stay with that agenda while in ofiice a few paltry dollars from me isn't going to make them a better person. But then, neither is the millions of dollars unleashed by the magnificently wrong-headed Citizens United decision.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  53. Rob in NC

    I don't know why anybody gives money to any of these clowns. They are all millionaires, or close to it, who should spend their own money to run. I would like to run for office, but I don't have the money to get my name out there to start the ball rolling. There is no better job in America than "representing" the people, sitting around, making free money and benefits. Unfortunately, I have some integrity and would actually do what is best for the people who elected me, so I don't have a chance of winning. Rob in NC

    January 5, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
  54. Loren

    We all like to ride on the crazy train, you never know who might win. After all who would have thought that a newly minted U.S. Senator with a leftist history and known radical associates would be elected President?

    January 5, 2012 at 3:36 pm |
  55. Michael Bindner, Alexandria, VA

    Some candidates get money to act as spoilers, like Rick Perry, who may get a Vice Presidential nomination for his trouble as well. Others get money to advance a certain ideology by true believers, even if they have no chance of winning – like Ron Paul (although some of his contributors are delusional enough to think he might win). Some are given money to act as a safety valve for those who cannot win, but who would not be part of the winning coalition if they had no candidate to carry their views forward, like Rick Santorum. Of course, the fact that Santorum does not have much money may mean he is a serious insurgent that the establishment does not want to win.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  56. Sylvia from San Diego

    Your questions makes no sense.... Case in point is Obama. No one thought he was going to win and if people followed your logic, he would not have had the resources to win......

    January 5, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  57. Jorge Herrera

    Who determines what candidate can win? The establishment? Why do I have to support Romney if I do not like his record?
    Unfortunately many people support candidates based on controlled and biased Media information.
    Why can Ron Paul not win? Are many entitlements, power abuser politicians, and interests at risk?

    January 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  58. Mark

    Dear Jack,
    Maybe if you and the rest of the American media stopped down playing the rest of the "horses" chances of winning we wouldn't feel as compelled to give money to these "3-legged Horses" as we do. Just because you think Romney is the biggest baddest horse among the rest does not mean the rest of us feel that way. The more the media downplays someone like Ron Paul's chances of winning this election, the more his supporters are going to feel compelled to give.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  59. David

    Your concept of campaign donations is wrong.
    People give money to campaigns so that the candidate has money to gain exposure. It's not a bet on who is going to win, it's who that person wants to help win.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  60. GrogInOhio

    "Why do people give money to candidates who have no chance of winning?"... I don't think it's "people". With the very little respect due Mr. Romney, I think it's corporations and a few wealthy people. There's an easy answer. While their horse won't win the race, he or she is likely to still be influential. Donations buy influence with the influent.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  61. Aztec Phil

    I suppose the reason for many such donations is a blend of naivete and hope, but it could also be that they might need political favors if the candidate loses the election, but still retains his/her current job. It also be as simple as they need a tax write-off and don't care who gets the money.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  62. ken, atlantic city, nj

    If the media decides who has no chance of winning than why have elections. Just let the media and polls tell us who the president will be in 2012 and we can all stay home on election day.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  63. Victor Song

    Jack, money in the US grows on trees don't you know?

    January 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  64. Ron Balewski

    I doubt if the people who contribute to the various candidates see it as hopeless. Just as with your horse race, people are placing their money on contenders that they do indeed believe have a chance to win – no matter what your opinion may be.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:56 pm |
  65. Bobby Jackson MS

    I don't know maybe they like his message ,but winning isn't everything but winning in this political climate seem to be rooted in one thing and one thing only and that's who have the largest bank account of course it didn't work for Ross Perot but it seem to be the only sure win today

    January 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  66. Mark in Ann Arbor

    There can be any number of reasons, among them that the candidate espouses views you agree with or is a thorn in the side of another whose views you don't agree with.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
  67. Paul Sproul

    P.T. Barnum correctly said there was one born every minute. "This way to the egress", Misters Santorum, Gingrich, And Paul.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  68. Don

    That's right. Encourage people only to support candidates that YOU presently think will win, not those that have great ideas, great voting records, great moral fiber, and no skeletons in the closet. You tell us who to give our money to so we non-thinkers can just follow like sheep to slaughter.

    January 5, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  69. Chandler from Rockaway, NJ

    Someone once said that cocaine was God's way of telling you, you have too much money. They got it wrong. Money given in political contributions feeds no one and employs very few, money given to hopeless candiates doubly so. If you are so wealthy that you are giving money to a candidate who can't win, God is trying to tell you something.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  70. Adam from Mesa, AZ

    I think people give to lost cause candidates because it gives them a sense that they have a voice and a chance to change things. They are afraid to admit that the media and the party have already made their decision.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  71. Jenny from Nanuet, New York

    Rick Perry in the race only because people gave him enough money to continue. Money raises candidates' prospects of having less than no chance of winning to just having no chance of winning. Some people are stupid-and I don't just mean those giving the money.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  72. Bob in Kansas City

    I can't answer your question Jack, but why do most people give money to any of these gasbags in the first place since once elected they stand a good chance of not doing what they campaigned on unless the majority of the benefit falls on the 1% who pull their puppet strings.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  73. Robert

    Throwing money away is a sure sigh that the economy is improving. A year ago, people didn't have a spare cent, much less a dollar!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  74. Michael

    To give the better candidates a chance to win against the establishment-picked ones who are beholden to big corporations and PACs.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  75. Robert

    Throwing money away is a sure sign that the economy is improving. A year ago, people didn't have a spare cent, much less a dollar!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
  76. Greg White

    I have contributed to Ron Paul numerous times in 08 & 2012. I put my hard earned $ on the man & message in hopes others will resist the temptation of jumping on the "leaders" bandwagon.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  77. Eric Siegler

    People donate money to candidates they support and who represent their views. While it may seem like betting on a three legged horse that can't win, it still helps get the message out there and into the mix. It makes people think. Like why many people support Ron Paul. While he may not win the nominee overall like others, his message is getting out there and in a big way. Bigger then before. To many supporters and like minded thinkers.. simply doing that is priceless and challenging the status quo in today modern political landscape.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
  78. Paul

    Oh Jack, why so glum? Santorum can't win because he has a feeble national campaign structure and thinks government belongs in every facet of our lives. Newt can't win because he's proven to be a political "lady of the night" that can go to the highest bidder. Why hate on what Dr. Paul's built over the past 4 years? The only reason Romney CAN win is because he enjoys the emphatic support of large media players like CNN. – Paul, Katy,TX

    January 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  79. Anne in Scottsdale

    This election cycle is rather unique. Not only is it Republicans wanting one of their own to beat the Democrat. Among Republicans it's about religion. It shouldn't be. However, some Republicans are so intent on supporting a "real" christian(their idea, not mine,) that they'll support any "non-Romney" candidate. This, just to make sure that a true white white conservative christian occupies the White House. What matters is the person's own platform. Not their religion.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  80. Chris Lewis from San Diego, CA

    Jack, I contend that Ron Paul has a very real shot at becoming the nominee. He's pulling out all the stops and currently second place in New Hampshire with 24% of the vote according to the latest Washington Times poll – more than 2x ahead of Rick Santorum in third with 11%. Besides, I think maybe people donate with their heart but vote with their head. They pull out their wallet to support who they feel aligns most closely with their views, but when it comes time to enter that polling booth they vote for who has the most 'realistic' shot at winning.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  81. Kim , Dodge City, Kansas

    Because they are stupid beyond belief, and they have more money than they know what to do with.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:10 pm |
  82. Steve Perry

    Giving $20 to someone who represents your values doesn't hurt very much and feels really good
    and gets out a message that you want heard. Who's to say, for sure, who will win. Santorum wasn't on the map a week ago.

    San Diego, CA

    January 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  83. pb

    Simple answer: delusion.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
  84. p rex

    Seems to me that the only ones who think Romney should be the nominee are the liberal media and the democrats. Not a sterling recommendation if you're a true conservative looking for less government. That's why people give money to what may appear to be losers...they don't want the candidate of the enemy.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  85. Captain Obvious

    Your analogy is poor. As much as I personally dislike many of the fringe candidates, these aren't three-legged horses, they are just longshots. People throw away money on 100/1 odds all the time at the track.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  86. cliff gridley sparta n.c.

    Not everybody can pick a horse that wins, too bad the American people are going to lose this race !!!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  87. sheesh

    Even in an opionion piece about candiates who have no chance of winning CNN leaves out Jon Huntsman. He's the best thing on the GOP ticket, but nobody gives him the time of day in the media.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  88. Jeremy

    Because we supporters believe in our candidate's message more than we do the ability of the media to pick the party's nominee after only one caucus. It takes a lot of money to compete against the media machine, and I'm proud to have made my contributions.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  89. J Jones

    Jack, this is a horrible question that you pose. Sometimes people actually believe in something. It's not always only about winning, it's about changing the conversation and the direction for the future. As Ron Paul supporters we are totally aware of that. Raising money helps to bring attention to issues that some people will not talk about. I suppose the reason that I think it is a horrible question is because I assumed that you would already know this.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  90. Mary Jo from Illinois

    Their hearts and their beliefs are bigger than their brain.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  91. cbr

    The race is in the beginning stages. Give all of us a chance to vote in primaries, etc. and then maybe you can declare Romney the candidate. I do not believe that his record in MA will translate into votes. He took full advantage of the Lt. Governor and hightailed it out of the state after his term was up. He lived in MA long enough to be able to run for Governor. It was nothing more than a step toward the presidency.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  92. Kenarmy

    Quite simple. They want to stop other candidates from being "anointed" due to no opposition. For example, 3/4 Iowa Republicans clearly do not want a candidate such as Romney. And many of the votes against Romney were from people willing to vote for almost ANY Republican oither than Romney. That's why giving to candidates who (probably...) have no chance of winning is not a waste.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:16 pm |
  93. Michael Mallon

    Jack, you equate American elections with horse races. But for the analogy to hold water, betting money on horses would make them faster. Unless you're actually putting money down on the presidential race as a gambler, who you calculate is most likely to win based on what everyone else is doing should have no bearing on who your candidate is. Everyone must vote his or her conscience. If everyone in America actually voted for the candidate they really, really thought would be the best for the job, and didn't stop to think about what their chances were or what other people would think of them for voting that way, elections would turn out quite differently.

    Others are free to do whatever they wish with their ballot in November. I'm voting for Dr Paul in March here in Texas, and if he is not on the ballot in the general election I will either vote for the best third-party candidate in the field or abstain. And my conscience will be clear. Can anyone who votes for the lesser of two evils because it is expedient or because "they have a 'chance' of winning" say the same?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  94. Neil from houston TX

    A fool and his money are easily parted

    January 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  95. Brian J. Stinar

    This is a non sequitur argument in which the author assumes that those candidates have no chance of winning, so he wonders why anyone would give them money. There is a disconnect between the premise and the conclusion, regardless of whether his conclusion may actually be correct. I do not accept the premise that they have no chance of winning and thus reject this entire argument.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  96. Dan

    I agree. Why are people giving Romney money?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
  97. Larry Moroni

    Jack, it just gets back to the old adage: "A fool and his money soon part"

    January 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  98. Rich

    Right Jack...thanks for being so optimistic....so instead of trying to change things and foster more than a 2 party system, your journalistic analysis of the situation is "why do people support candidates who can't win". With that attitude nothing with ever change. Stop counting Ron Paul out; Stop asking if he is electable; the guy is the only one of them who doesn't waver on his convictions; he is the only one that speaks the truth about how our foreign policy hurts us....as long as people continue to listen to the mass media(cnn/fox/msnbc) the system stays stagnant....

    January 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  99. Bob

    They are way over religious and ONLY want someone who feels like they do (they also forgot separation of church and state) or they are plain stupid.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  100. Darryl Price

    That's easy. ODS - Obama Derangement Syndrome

    January 5, 2012 at 4:19 pm |
  101. Mason

    Well, it's more fun if there are multiple horses in the race. No one wants to watch a race with one horse anyway.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  102. Mike B from Houston

    Same reason I buy a lottery ticket, a chance for a winner.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  103. Arlene, Roselle, Illinois

    Jack, when was the last time you gave any money to a candidate?
    As a lonely voter there is NOTHING infor me. I'd rather give to my church, the Girl Scout Cookies and the guy
    on the street corner who cleans my windshield.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  104. Dick G

    Have you never heard – A fool and his money are soon parted?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:20 pm |
  105. Tina Tx

    When you hate the other party so bad you will sell your soul to the Devil to try to be the nominee. They all are the same just tell different lies to be the leader of the flea cirus.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  106. New Jersey Harry

    Who says they have no chance of winning. If this were true, you are wasting a lot of time covering this. Also someday a 3rd Party Candidate is going to shock the world. Don't underestimate Democracy. Many have failed in doing so. Just ask the Soviets or and a bunch of Middle East dictators.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  107. Toribio

    Jack, Why would anyone give money to a candidate ? If voting was "effective" it would be illegal...

    January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  108. Charles LeMieux

    I't called hope, Jack. Hope that a real representative of the people might get elected. Romney is not that guy.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  109. greg from NC

    Because it feels good. The most basic of human needs, feeling good. It totally blocks reality. "If it feels good, do it!" Send them more money, they're in debt and they need to feel good too!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  110. Mark

    The only reason one, if anyone would give money to a candidate is to imagine he will do what he says, when i reality barely anything will be done in the administrations time in office. the only way I would give money to a campaign is if I would be rich or won the lottery, both will never happen.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  111. Ruben

    Jack: People give money knowing their potential candidate will not win because they are tired of backing run of the mill politicians that will not change the system. I, for one, would rather give my money to Snooki for a presidential campaign than any of the current Republican candidates.......

    January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  112. Nick D. Neighbour

    And these same people BEGRUDGE a few extra bucks in TAXES, so that a SICK CHILD can have HEALTH CARE!!
    Go Figure!!
    Nick. N.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  113. Mormon for Ron Paul

    Why do Ron Paul supporters give him money even though he may look like a 3 legged horse. Mainly because it is about correct principals and not candidates. you don't put your money behind evil you put it behind true principals.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  114. T. Beeth

    Maybe for a tax deduction.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  115. Uche in Rochester, MN

    Is that not part of the beauty of "American" democracy. We donate to and vote with passion for those that share our core values and not those we think can win eventually. Who believed that Barack Obama would defeat Hilary Clinton in 2008?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  116. Dan

    Jack, I donated to Ron Paul. He is the only candidate I can stomach. I suppose the answer to your question is simply that I am a concerned citizen, and can't sit idly by while our country gets destroyed by big government.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  117. Jim


    I suspect that very few people actually give contributions to candidates that they know have no chance of winning. I'm betting in almost every case they really believe their guy does have a chance and that they can enhance that chance by kicking in a few bucks. The idea of making a statement with your contribution also plays a role. You are saying this guy's positions are my positions, and you're backing that up with your hard-earned cash.

    Reno, Nevada

    January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  118. Don from Detroit

    As a proponent of public financing of campaigns, and as painful as this is to admit; political donations are speech. I have given lots of money to candidates, usually because I didn't like the other guy, but sometimes I did like the guy I gave money to.

    PS. Won't Win? 1980 Democratic Primary, much?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  119. tom winn

    jack, i have no idea why anyone would support a sure loser. but from what the media says, president obama has a bankroll of close to a $billion. you will need to ask one of those givers who have more money than sense.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  120. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    Why did people vote for Ross Peroit? It just got Clinton elected and we are STILL dealing with them. People who do that are not really interested in winning the election. They are only interested in making a statement and fostering their narrow view.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  121. Todd

    We the people choose the candidate we feel is best; it is not for the mainstream media to pursuade the people who to vote for. It is shameful and insulting there has become such a disconnect between the mainstream media and the interests of reasonable thinking people. It is not for the media to tell the people how to think or who to vote for.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  122. Alex H

    Jack–have to disagree with your analogy. If I felt like I would get some kind of a "payout" from "betting" on the right candidate, I definitely would contribute to a Mitt Romney or maybe a Rick Santorum. However, since I'm not a huge donor, I seriously doubt I'll end up with a White House Correspondence Dinner Invitation anyways. Something tells me that giving $25 because I support the messages of a candidate I agree with with principled ideals will lead to more of a "payout" for the country whether or not this candidate (Ron Paul) wins or not. Jack, I guess I'd just rather "bet" on the three legged horse than the one who only recently seems to have started moving in the right direction.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  123. Ken

    Why is it that the media including yourself can decide who wins and who doesn't? Ron Paul has far and away the highest percentage of young voters and independants. Unlike Obama who had similar statistics and was hailed as a person who could win. Ron Paul is the only candidate who actually will try to cut the deficit at all costs. If Paul was pumped up like Obama was he would win the election in a landslide.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  124. larry arlan

    jack..unless i am incorrectly informed..we the people can contribute to the candidate we like...regardless of the trickle down brilliance from the news faces telling us who we should vote for...and spinning your editorial comments to twist the facts...since most people think if they heard it on the tv..it must be the truth, you might be swayed to believe your own voice...get a grip..you are not..and probably never will be the news...back off...try for once to speak just the facts..see how long you will last !...

    January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  125. andyz Lynn, MA

    They give money to losing candidates for the same reason's that they buy lottery tickets; that wonderful, "What if," moment.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  126. Mark McConnell

    I think its important to remember, your perception of a "3 legged horse" is your perception and yours only. The results of an election are not over till all the results are in. People ( no matter how crazy we think they are ) believe in these candidates and support their views , leadership, and direction they will lead the country. This nomination process is far from over, even though a lot of us wish it was.

    Mark McConnell

    January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  127. Freedom 4 me

    We are giving our money and voting for Ron Paul because unlike jaded strategic voters, we are voting on principals, freedom sound money, and a humble foreign policy that will keep us safer by not meddling in affairs that are not our business. Also, take a look at WHERE the candidates are getting their money FROM...

    January 5, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  128. Chris

    Sometimes giving money to a candidate is more about making a statement than trying to help them win the nomination/election. It's like voting for the libertarian or green party candidate in the general. What you're saying is that you want the main-party candidates to be more like "this guy", hoping that they'll lean towards those ideas/ideals in the hopes of picking up more of the so-called swing voters.

    Writing from Centreville, VA

    January 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  129. Eric Short

    You and the rest of the liberal media (NBC, ABC, etc.) want to tell us everyday that Romney is the nominee and we shouldn't even bother thinking any different. Well guess what, we're not listening anymore! The fact is, this is a centre-right country, and a bold conservative has no problem winning a national election, especially against a candidate with the record of Barack Obama. If you need proof of this, see the 1980 Presidential election. Even if Santorum can't win, if he can accumulate enough delegates, he can accumulate influence in the party and the platform, and maybe even garner a primetime speech at the convention or a cabinet post.

    Eric Short
    Louisville, KY

    January 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  130. Ron in Princeton, WV

    It's simple. If you believe in what a candidate stands for, you want to ensure that his or her views are heard . . . and responded to . . . by the other candidates.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  131. Jack - Lancaster, Ohio

    Well, it is buying influence whether the loser succeeds or not. The loser comes home to his normal elected position and it is business as usual. Even if the loser is unseated, the poor bloke has to live with his pension, rural property, security team and medical benefits for the rest of his or her life and be doomed to watching the media for those who are still on stage. What a let down, yet still in the one percent of the wealthiest homo sapiens on the planet ! The dumb "ing" down of america has worked well in the political system and if the Federal department of education is untouched by downsizing, Americans will look to their leaders as they do with Dancing with the stars. Good night Mrs. Calabash, where EVER you are !

    January 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  132. sandra coston

    Jack, it seems what you are telling the American people is that we should let the media decide who will be the candidate..I seem to remember that in the very beginning Barack Obama was one of those three legged horses you describe..Nothing wrong with the people donating to the candidate we choose, but their is something very wrong when corporations or very wealthy donors decide who the winner should be...after all when someone like me donates to a candidate I am probably going out to vote for him.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
  133. Ozzie R.

    We give money to candidates such as Ron Paul because him doing well sends a message to the country and the world that many of us don't want war in Iran or on drugs. I imagine Christian conservatives may feel the same. Me I want the separation between church and state and the change I voted for in 08'. Thanks Jack you Rock!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  134. donna in Ohio

    P.T. Barnum said it best. There is a sucker born every minute. Why am I writing? Lost job, no unemployment now, giving up and TV watching is last resort.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  135. Mark A.

    Maybe, just maybe, the people donate money to the candidate because they believe in their principles and ideas and would like to seem them elected president. The media can tell us over and over again that a candidate, like Ron Paul, is "unelectable", but at the end of the day WE vote for the President. The pundits do not decide who the next president is, no matter how much they try to portray a candidate with an honest background and logical ideas as "fringe". Ron Paul's message is resonating with the youth in this country, and the more the media calls him "unelectable" the more galvanized his supporters will become. Whether the media and GOP establishment like it or not, Ron Paul's message has already resonated with the youth, and it is that generation that will be running this country in 20 years.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  136. Rion Clark

    In 1971 I did a write in ballot for Mickey Mouse. This was my first opportunity to vote. Both candidates were not to be trusted. Since then I have never voted for anyone. Now I give money and time to the only true American RON PAUL.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  137. Will from south dakota

    I give money because I believe in Jon Huntsman. He has the most conservative record of all the candidates and a proven track record of success and his proposals for the economy and tax reform and unemployment have repeatedly been evaluated as the best proposals put forth by any candidate. Nevertheless the stupid electorate will probably fall in step with the big money guys and nominate Romney ensuring that Obama will win and we will be stuck with him for another four years. Romney is too dumb to be President and there is no way in hell he could ever defeat Obama.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  138. Vee in Lewisburg, PA

    We donate money to candidates that reflect our basic convictions.
    We hate the media (including CNN) telling us who is "a winner".

    January 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  139. Amy from Elkridge

    Because Jack,

    Obviously, these people suffer from some sort of a mental defect.

    Incapable of balancing logic and common sense,

    they cling to their ideology,


    January 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  140. Fundamentally Moderate

    The reason why I will not support Romney is because he embodies the worse aspects of both parties into one person. His stance on social programs is more Democrat than Republican and so is his stance on gun control as proven by his support of the stifling gun laws of Massachusetts. So what part of him is Republican? His unwavering support of all things corporate and lucrative? Sorry some conservatives no longer buy into Trickle Down economics. In all honesty if we use your criteria, Cafferty, Republicans would be best served to not show up to the race at all.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  141. andrew in north carolina

    Most major contributors don't even realize that spitting into the wind is a bad idea. Why would you expect them to have the common sense to choose a viable candidate?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  142. Christopher Raia

    I can't believe what I have just read, as I not only disagree with you completely, but I think that this issue is one of the biggest problems with politics and has been the reason the US has been left with pathetic Presidents over the last several decades.

    Let me first say that people should vote for (support or give money in support) the candidate that they feel will serve and run this country the best! This ISN'T a football game or horse race where you bet on who you THINK will win, but on who you want to win. Sports and Politics are different!

    If people ignored the polls (which are frequently wrong and only serve to satisfy the curiosity of the people and the media) and paid attention to the candidates, they could make education decisions on who should be their President. Take a look at some of the Iowa polls: they showed Michelle Bachman winning; Santorum nearly dead last; and only polled about 400 people. Now compare to the actual results. '

    More over, continuing to support the front runner just spirals them to the top artificially; even if they are a horrible candidate.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  143. Sean in Newport Beach

    In one short word the reason is PRINCIPLE. People support Ron Paul because they want a libertarian leaning Republican in office not these 2 faced corporate sponsored political hacks that will say anything to get your vote. In principle I support a honest man that speaks his mind to the very end even if it is throwing good money after bad. -Sean in Newport Beach

    January 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  144. Michael T. McPhearson

    The Supreme Court ruled money is free speech. So they are expressing themselves.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  145. Jacqueline

    Simply because Santorum is a true conservative does not make him a three legged horse. Instead, I believe that Santorum is the most 'normal' person when compared to any of the other candidates. Additionally, simply because Romney is the least conservative does not hame him a four legged horse. Thank goodness, that your opinion of whom is three or four legged doesn't really matter. Santorum's followers are as committed to him as Romney's are to him. The greatest aspect of American politics is that anyone - has the potential of being elected.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  146. Bert from L.A.

    Hi Jack, the reason for supporting losers is a total failure to spot the issue; to beat the other side! That was the problem in 2000, when Green fanatics voted for Nader thereby handing corporatists a big win. The same is true with these GOP voters divided by Christian fanatics for Santorum, Confederate types for Paul and corporatists for Romney. Swing voters are watching closly and what they see is division. Progressives are headed for a big win in November!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  147. Robert

    Burbank, CA

    In the case of Ron Paul, I have donated money to his campaign so that he has the platform and visibility to express many of the issues I believe in. Sure...he won't be allowed to win, but perhaps his message will help wake up others to the myriad of lies we are fed about the Federal Reserve and the "War on Terror".

    January 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  148. John Celsi

    Jack, I'm a Ron Paul supporter. I contribute to the message. The election process is more than just the election, but the platform the candidate will campaigning on.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  149. Ray

    You got it all wrong cnn. WE don't forget Ron Paul the future president. We believe in him as you do for Rowney.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  150. Larry from Washington, DC

    Call me crazy or old-fashioned but I seem to remember that in a representative democracy the people get to decide which individual they want to represent them. Having the largest amount of money in the campaign war-chest or the most well financed Super PACs running negative advertisements should not be a litmus test for being a candidate for your party's nominee for President. Stop complaining Jack and enjoy watching the democratic process as it unfolds.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  151. Ian from PA

    Come on Jack... this is a simple answer. Just like everything else in this country, people are stupid!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:28 pm |
  152. Don

    Winning isn't everything. It's good to hear someone speak up for what you believe in.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  153. Charles - San Antonio

    Whether you give money to a winning canidate or one that you want to win, you are still giving away money. At the end of the day, you money is still gone, and I would much rather support a canidate whose views I believe in. Even if they don't win.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  154. Lily from indiana

    There are people who actually support a candidate because they represent their values...Romney doesn't represent my values, and I'm not just gonna vote for him because the media calls him the "most electable"...I vote for and fiscally support who I believe in!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  155. Nick

    In a horse race, betting on the horse doesn't change the odds of it winning. This election is not a horse race (even if it is covered like a game, it is not). Whether it be right or wrong, we have the opportunity to vote with our wallets and try to fund the ideas that we think should guide the country. If you think we have a problems, let's try a system where only the rishest most connected people ever get to office and the results of the election are sorted out by the power brokers before the people even know what hits them. This way is not perfect but it is not a horse race where we cannot influence the outcome with our donations.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  156. Robert Preston

    Jack, the election process may be referred to as a "horse race" but a principled voter donates money to a particular candidate so they can get their message out. It's not about picking the winner.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  157. hjs3

    Many of these people and their donations simply have to fall under the hope and a prayer category.
    Hey, it's Friday and almost cocktail time so I'm being nice....

    January 5, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  158. Ken from Florida

    Why is it that the media including yourself can decide who wins and who doesn't? Ron Paul has far and away the highest percentage of young voters and independants. Unlike Obama who had similar statistics and was hailed as a person who could win. Ron Paul is the only candidate who actually will try to cut the deficit at all costs and in Cnns poll was found to be most fiscally conservative . If Paul was pumped up like Obama was he would win the election in a landslide.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  159. Dave

    You're right, we should just listen to CNN and read the poll results and then back whichever candidate is in the lead. Come to think of it, same goes for the presidential election, not just the primary!

    Wait a minute... like a horse race, the winner isn't decided in the first 100 yards. And unlike a horse race, we don't get any payoff from supporting the eventual winner.

    What we do get by supporting the candidate that represents our views is a chance to have those views heard on a national platform for as long as possible. If that candidate doesn't win this time, his positions may still eventually win.

    I thought most people wanted change in this country, not more of the same establishment blow-hards who offer no real solutions, just more of the same empty rhetoric we've been hearing for several administrations while essentially following the same path down the toilet regardless of who won?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  160. Michelle Peterson

    Politics shouldn't be looked at as a horse race to gambling on. The average person isn"t going to win a prize if the guy they support gets into office. I for one am happy to throw my money to the guy I feel has the answers, even if the media and "critics" try and tell you he doesn't. I'm happy to see there are Americans still out there that put their money on beliefs rather than to have the ability to predict the winner and say they gave him money.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  161. Shawn4films

    What a silly question. 1 – Individuals should not make their decisions about who to support based upon the limited information provided by the MSM. They should look at the candidates policies and support the one the feel has the best policies and consistency supporting those policies. This has nothing to do with chances and everything to do with doing the right thing, period. 2 – This question can be likened to another question... Why should anyone waste their money on aids/cancer research? There is absolutely no way, no how humans can ever cure aids or cancer so why in the world would anyone be crazy enough to waste money on research? WHAT A RIDICULOUS way of looking at it. The truth is that diseases in the past have been cured by enough people pulling together and supporting research. And the truth is candidates who supposedly had no chance have won when enough people got behind them. Ultimately what this question is TRULY saying is, why aren't people buying into the candidates that the establishment status quo has put forward? Why are people liking ideas outside of the status quo? Welcome to the age of internet establishment. We are finally getting the information about the horribly corrupt financial and foreign policies of our country and we don't like them. We are now supporting our candidates not the establishment candidates.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  162. Ross in Los Angeles, CA

    Why? Well, Jack, maybe some of us believe Romney shouldn't be the party's nominee. The only reason he's deemed the "most electable" candidate is because he's basically Obama with a slicker hair do. I voted for Obama last time around and am not making the same mistake again, that includes Obama clones! Ron Paul will get my money and when the time comes he'll get my vote, even if I have to write it in, because Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate with any credibility!

    Ron Paul 2012

    January 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  163. Arthur Zakama of Minnesota

    There's a reason why people are still betting on a three legged horse...because the four legged-horse is stagnant and STILL failing to brake away from the pack of the three legged-horses. Let's be real here Cafferty – Republicans are confused on which of the Romneys they should support...the former Massachusetts Governor or the Bain Capital CEO? Overall, Romney is the man standing in the mirror...I feel sorry for the Republicans because they are really looking forward to battle it out with Obama but they are still looking in the pile xenophobic.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |

    Jack, i`ll give it to you straight – dumb Republicans or to put another way-real dumb Republicans.Two birds tied together though they have four wings they can not fly.-they may run but they can not win-not this bunch...

    January 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  165. Gigi Oregon

    I can't understand why anyone would reward a party that has sat on their hands for 3 years in congress to make sure President Obama is a one term president. And letting the country and it's people go to hell.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:31 pm |
  166. Jk from Minnesota

    They obviously disagree with the more organized candidate for some reason. I think there's an old saying about a fool and their money are soon parted that applies

    January 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  167. Alex

    Ron Paul has the strongest message of all the candidates so it seems no surprise he raises millions of dollars from small donations. Can he win the nomination? Time will tell. He certainly seems to have the most enthusiasm behind him.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:32 pm |
  168. Jordan Lewis

    When I donate money to Ron Paul it's an investment, not a bet. I'm only 21 but I'm not going to tell my future kids I just sat passively while corrupt politicians fought to be my "lesser of two evils" vote.
    Greencastle, Indiana

    January 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  169. Desi from Youngstown, OH

    People give money to the candidates who appear to represent the principles they value. Sometimes they don't understand (or refuse to believe) that their chosen candidate isn't viable. Sometimes they do understand but donate out of pride and a sense of spite. It's a matter of principle, Jack.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  170. John from Ca

    Yes I think that people give money to the "least expected" because some people just love An Arguement between The top contenders. Instead of arguing, people must choose the canidates that have the most confidence in route to the white house 2012.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  171. Tom

    One reason that I know people give money to Ron Paul despite the popular belief he cannot win is because he has the ability to change the discussion. By allowing him to campaign it gets the message of ending wars and becoming truly fiscally conservative out there and creates a broader base for that. This in turn leads to future polititicians adopting similiar stances to appeal to that demographic. Ron Paul won't win, but his presence will alter future politician's views.

    Of course, this feels like an abuse of pandering, but c'est la vie?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:33 pm |
  172. Alex in South Orange, NJ

    To bring them up from hopeless. People said Ron Paul was hopeless but he raised enough money from people, including many veterans and active duty soldiers, and not special interests to make his case in Iowa and he came in a virtual 3 way tie. Now in some polls he a respectable 2nd to Romney in NH which is fine because Romney has been destined to win there from the start. So please, keep donating. Real people are making a difference, as much as that horrifies the party establishment. Who knows, maybe in 2012 we can have real change.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  173. Steve

    The two-party system of government fails many citizens. They choose to spend their money not on those who can win, but on those whose influence can maybe, some day, allow participation of a greater variety of views in the governing of the country. "Electability" is only one consideration when making a political donation.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
  174. Gina

    First off...You should stick to reporting facts and not your filthy opinion. You underestimate the people of our great country. The reason ron paul may actually have a chance (to win) is because people are finally starting to realize that the media reports only filth. We want our country back! We want truth and we want liberty! Ron Paul is the only candidate to offer that. I for one will not vote for Romney. He is just like Obama...and just like the rest of them.
    Here's something to report on...how about talk about Ron Paul as a true leader and the one who has spent his entire political career leading the fight for liberty...protecting our constitution. You say he is dangerous? How can following our constitution be dangerous? You Sir are dangerous. Stick to the facts for once and keep this a fare race. For Liberty!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  175. Sandstone.

    "Maybe because each one still spreads the message, they themselves want to be told for their own behalf?"

    January 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  176. paul

    That's easy Jack,this way they can have a clear conscience when the leading candidate loses in November.They can say,"See,,I told you so. "

    January 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  177. Steve, NY

    Obviously they are stupid, devious or have too much money to spend. Guys like Ron Paul, whose 76 years old, and has no image gets 20% of the votes that tells you people are really stupid. He is asnother old phart like McCain.The donors must be Democrats that are disguised as Republicans that are supporting him. The Democrats wish that Ron Paul will win so that he can run against Obama or run as an Independent, which will split the Republican vote. The Democrats are devious, they will do anything to descredit Romney.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  178. Dave


    To imply that people who don't support the Romney campaign are "wasting their money" is not only insulting to the other candidates but is contrary to the Democratic process for which we all stand. WE THE PEOPLE decide who will be the Republican candidate and next President by exercising the freedom provided to us by the Constitution of the United States. The freedom that allows us, each and every person of voting age, to support the person that WE THE PEOPLE believe will be the best choice, whether through donations or through our vote on election day.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  179. curtis in philadelphia

    I don't know Jack, but I guess its kind of like being a New York Mets season ticket holder.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  180. Jerry

    To support canidates that have definite plans for government. Ron Pauls stance on not being the world's policeman. Also, Pauls Views on foreign aid. That may why much of his support is from individuals. If there is enough support on spicific policies there may be some change. Now president Obama is talking about cutting Department of Defence. Maybe we are making progress.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  181. Ms. B

    For the same reason Jack that you and others keeps telling us Romey will win you think because he has money he will win, well I don't think he will and we don't need you are the media telling us who to vote for or who to give our money too.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  182. Silence Dogood

    Why give to candidates who can't win? So why are they even giving to Republican candidates in the first place? If Obama wins, then all these people who gave to the Republican nominee lost their money. On the other hand, these campaigns spend money in local and state markets. So by all means, keep giving to the candidates because they turn around to drop money locally.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  183. Frankie Jarrett

    Americans should be encouraged to support any candidate they want to win, and elections should ultimately decide who will, not speculation. But why are we letting political pundits decide elections before 'we the people' actually vote? That doesn't sound like a democracy – more like a media-ocracy.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  184. JImmy

    Why not ask WHO is giving the candidates money?
    Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, etc...

    Ron Paul 2012

    January 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  185. Andriana

    Irrational behavior Jack! Isn’t it obvious through the indecision volatility seen in the polls. These charitable donors are obviously focusing on the now instead of looking at the end. If they left their heads up they would already see Romney at the finish line. #gametheory

    January 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  186. Jyothi, St.Louis,MO

    Those who spend their money on hopeless candidates might have a personal motive behind it. They may benefit from the candidate no matter what happens to their candidacy.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  187. Steve from Key West

    Jack, always love your thought provoking commentary. I disagree with your supposition. I donate to candidates with whom I agree with...regardless of their chance of winning. They have ranged from donations to Bruce Babbitt or John Edwards for president, Kinky Friedman for governor to Al Franken for senate. I do not wish anything in return for my donations...other than a health discussion of the issues. Your premise..although horribly true too often, is based on donors expecting something tangible for their donation.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
  188. Sharad Vernekar

    For that matter why do people give money to candidates who does have chance of winning?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  189. Michael Sexton

    It doesn't matter if Romney calls himself republican, democrat, or martian. In fact it doesn't matter what he says because he has a proven track record. He will fire everyone he can while increasing the cost of basic services. Couple that with the "entitlement reform" and you got millions of people starving with no way to make ends meet. To vote for him simply because he claims to be republican is immature and reckless.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  190. Shane

    As J Jones said, it's not always about winning. You have to make sure your beliefs have a voice. If you don't allow someone with your beliefs the opportunity to speak, you won't be heard. Without money, our candidates will not have the largest stage to speak on our behalf. I think that the winning candidate has to...or at least should...take that into account. We spent a lot of money on a horse we knew wouldn't cross the finish line just to make ourselves heard.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  191. Renee Peoria,Ill

    Some would say hope, some would say stupidity. But let's face it, unless you are incredibly wealthy it's just futile. More proof that we need to get the money out of politics; if poor and middle class individuals are foolhardy enough to give money to these leeches what's to stop wealthy people who have ulterior motives for buying politicians? To say nothing of corporations, especially since that hair-brained supreme court decision that says they are people – a rather obvious tactic to allow for the legal 'buying' of politicians by corporations.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  192. think4yourself

    A more appropriate question rather than "betting" would be why "enter" your horse in the race if the chances are that another horse will win. With that philosophy, horse races would consist of 1 or 2 horses and longshots would be eliminated. People who donate to campaign funds are not betting on their candidate to win, they are funding the entry of their candidate in the race.

    Maybe those donating to non-Romney campaigns will not vote for Romney if he gets the Republican Presidential nomination. They are hoping for one of the others to win because he represents their philosophical views better. Maybe if Romney wins the nomination, Repubs will vote for Obama the lesser of 2 evils (for lack of a better saying)

    January 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  193. Pete in Georgia

    It's called DELUSIONAL.
    Look it up, it's in the dictionary.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  194. Shane Farrar, Savannah, GA

    The same reason people fight in wars, like the Revolutionary War. Sometimes when you believe in something, you fight for it – or at least put your money where your mouth is. No one can say for sure what will be in a few months time, but what we do know is who we think as individuals should win. Its why I donate to Ron Paul, and no matter what happens I know liberty gets just a little closer each time I do. Thanks Jack.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  195. Louis Hardin

    Come on jack, Romney can't poll higher than 25 percent in his own party. I believe it's infinitely better to throw your money behind a candidate who closely represents your values and ideals but might not win the nomination, than to roll over for the most electable candidate who does not share those ideals that i hold dear. HOUSTON, TX

    January 5, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  196. Andriana

    Irrational behavior Jack! Isn’t it obvious through the indecision volatility seen in the polls. These charitable donors are obviously focusing on the now instead of looking at the end. If they lift their heads up they would already see Romney at the finish line. #gametheory

    January 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  197. Mitchel

    Simple Jack, ya gotta believe!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  198. Randall in Sharon PA

    It would be smart for the Democrats to provide support to the lesser Republican candidates to keep the Republican nomination fight going as long as possible. As long as the Republican candidates are fighting each other, they are distracted from fighting President Obama. Once the Republican nomination is sewn up, the fight changes to be against Obama.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  199. Dave, Orlando, FL

    To give them a chance, maybe?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  200. marybeth, massachusetts


    If people only gave money to the politician most likely to win, then who determines who is most likely to win? The MEDIA long ago declared Romney the GOP nominee. Romney was born into a very super wealthy family, then made more millions by bankrupting companies, firing American workers, and sending their jobs overseas.

    In this country, money is power and money is speech. You are required to be in the top 1% to run for political office. Oh, you can be poor, but you'll never win because it costs millions of dollars to buy airtime, to run attack ads, to smear your opponents while painting yourself the Savior.

    Maybe people don't like being told a year or more in advance who the GOP nominee is going to be, simply because he started out with the most money. Maybe people don't like who the media has chosen for them and they figure if they give money, however little (a lot of small donations add up), to the candidate they like, they feel that they now have some choice because their donations are evening the odds of the trust-fund baby candidate.

    Maybe they want to have the option of more than one name on the ballot for GOP nominee. This isn't suppposed to be the old Soviet Union, where citizens could vote, but there was only one name on the ballot.

    Maybe they don't like the idea that the richest person (Romney) is buying political office.

    What really needs to happen is to get the money out of politics. That would level the playing field and would open it up to those who aren't millionaires 60 times over.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  201. Sparki

    Jack, there's a sucker born every minute!!
    Golden Colorado

    January 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  202. P H

    The only reason any candidate has no chance of winning, is because the media, including Jack Cafferty, repeatedly makes the assertion in question form.

    Otherwise, I justify my donation as follows: If my candidate doesn't win, I will have repaid campaign debts to the only honest candidate.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  203. Jeff, G.R. MI

    I could ask the contrary: why would I give money to a candidate just because they had a better shot to win? Why would I donate to someone just because they are a front runner, when they in no way may represent my views? The only way I would do so is if I was voting "anyone but Obama", which I am certainly not, rather, I am voting and supporting the person I feel will do the best job.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  204. Jared

    In this case, the odds of winning doesn't change who should win. Huntsman is the only adult in the room and if I get the chance, he has my vote.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  205. LT Sibert

    I give my hard earned money to Ron Paul because I believe this Country needs a third voice; Democrats & Republicans have failed this Country. When I hear Ron Paul talk about Balancing the Budget, Ending our Imperialist Wars & Defending our Declining Liberties (examples: the patriot act & NDAA) it gives me hope. I give my time & money to Dr. Paul because I actually believe he stands for real change.

    January 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  206. Alyce from Albuquerque

    Jack, it's called hedging your bets. Even if the candidate isn't viable, the cache behind the loser who throws in the towel and makes an "endorsement " is. I say down with contributions – bring out the cardboard and magic markers, debate in a high school gym and if all else fails, do a coin toss. Sheesh!

    January 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  207. Mark


    I don't have a lot of faith in the terrible republican field or in anyone to beat Romney, but ruling out a candidate before the votes are held is in very poor spirit.

    The answer to your question is a lot of people get convinced by good salespeople that that candidate CAN win, and SHOULD. Some others give money to multiple candidates to hedge their bets, or to advance a pet issue that candidate is speaking to, or in some cases because they want that candidate to stay on the ballot long enough to pull votes from someone else and change the race.

    The real question is, why would you give even the likely winner money? And why should candidates be able to buy influence by spending as much as they can raise?

    January 5, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  208. james in greenville, nc

    Jack, remember the old saying? "He may never win another race but he's still my horse."

    January 5, 2012 at 4:53 pm |