The New York Times has refused to put Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz on their bestseller list after finding evidence that his book sales were not authentic.
New York Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told Politico, “We have uniform standards that we apply to our best seller list, which includes an analysis of book sales that goes beyond simply the number of books sold. This book didn’t meet that standard this week. Our goal is that the list reflect authentic best sellers, so we look at and analyze not just numbers, but patterns of sales for every book.”
Murphy later added more detail, “In the case of this book, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence was that sales were limited to strategic bulk purchases.”
Strategic bulk purchases is a polite way of saying that Cruz, his super PAC, or organization that he cut a deal with, bought the books in bulk to inflate his sales numbers and land him on the bestseller list.
Republicans have been using this tactic for years. Sarah Palin had her super PAC buy $64,000 worth of her books in 2010. Mitt Romney landed on the bestseller list by declining speaking fees and forcing universities to buy tens of thousands of copies of his book. Ben Carson’s “bestseller” was fueled by a pro-Carson super PAC buying up $150,000 of his books.
Bestseller list rigging appears to be a uniquely Republican phenomenon. President Obama became a legitimate best-selling author, the same goes for former presidents Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton. Current Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s book sales have never been questioned.
Republican candidates have been gaming bestseller lists for years, but list makers like The New York Times are beginning to catch on. Bestseller lists are viewed by campaigns as a way to create the illusion of grassroots popularity by landing their candidate at or near the top of the list. Ted Cruz is struggling in the polls. He is buried in the lower middle of the Republican pack. He tried to buy his way onto the bestseller list and was busted.
Hopefully, this is the beginning of a trend that will see the listmakers put an end to one of the most egregious forms of Republican fraud.