by Paul Krugman
Headlines on FoxNews, CNN, MSNBC, and all over the web should have been “Randy Travis Wins Ames Straw Poll Edging out Ron Paul” instead of headlines which touted Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s victory.
Bachmann spent upwards of $1 million, paid for over 6000 tickets, paid for Grammy Award winning, country musician Randy Travis to show up, and bussed in Randy Travis fans in order to secure 152 more votes than Congressman Ron Paul. Michele Bachmann’s camp handed out flyers, which stated that in order to see the entertainment, you had to vote for her first. Here is an image of the flyer that was around Ames,
While Bachmann gave out over 6000 tickets(worth $180,000 at $30 each), she received ~4800 votes, so 20% of those who she bought tickets for voted for other candidates. A country concert, a ride to that concert, and various other free stuff is a great deal for a simple vote.
Though she may have won the Ames Straw Poll, Bachmann will not be able to bus in country music fans for a free show for a vote scheme at the Iowa Caucus in 2012. As Joe Scarborough put it, “She is a joke. Her candidacy is a joke.”