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Campaigning for Cash

October 2, 2007

The fundamental question of the day is, what would you do if you had $265,098,330? If you’re fuzzy at reading reeeaally big numbers, let me spell it out for you. What would you do with more than one quarter of a billion dollars? The answer, you might be surprised or just saddened to hear, is finance the eighteen front runners is the 2008 presidential bid. At least, up until June 30, 2007 according to the link to a Washington Post Article above.

That’s right, 16 months before the fateful day in November still more than a year away; the candidates had raised sufficient funds to send 1,506 people to American University for all four years, free of charge. Go ahead, do the math. Realize that the entire incoming freshman class could be here on a full ride for all four years with that money, and there would still be cash to spare. Better yet, with that money you could shack up 1,767,322 homeless people in a $150 dollar hotel room for a night with that cash.

Of course, there are other and probably better uses of 17.6 times the value of the Louisiana purchase, but the fact remains that the candidates raised what is to me at least, an absolutely incomprehensible amount of money, a full year and a third before the election. If that isn’t mind boggling enough, according to http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/index.asp, it’s projected that the eventual nominees will round up half a billion dollars a piece for their presidential bids.

Can you imagine the kind of good that could be done with a billion dollars? The lives that could be saved, the futures that could be brightened, here and abroad. Presidential elections and U.S. elections in general, cost too much money. Newt Gingrich, conservative that he is, brought up an excellent point. Elections have metamorphosed from campaigns of ideas to campaigns of ideas for fundraising. Perhaps there is in fact a relationship, but to me at least there seems to be little relevance between the ability to raise more money than most people will ever fathom, and running a country. It’s no longer the best candidate but instead the best fundraiser.

I don’t know how a less gluttonous presidential election could be held, but I do know that there are far better ways to spent hundreds of millions of dollars. Roll the phrase around on your tongue: hundreds of millions of dollars. Who do you think would do more good with that money, a presidential committee or a nonprofit organization?

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Joe Layman permalink
    October 5, 2007 2:37 am

    The first thing I would do with one quarter of a million dollars is buy my parents a really nice house in the Bahamas. Then I would give some to my brother and my friends. It would be stupid not to put a lot of it in a savings account or a CD. I would probably put some money in the stock market, and finally I would give a decent amount to a presidential campaign.

    To clarify I would not donate until each party had its nomination set. Giving money during the primaries is important to launch a candidate, but when it s down to the wire and they are scrounging for money, I would provide some to the person I supported. Why? Because I can. Now, do not get me wrong I would do a lot of good money, but there are some benefits that go along with donating money. If I give enough I might be invited to special balls and dinners. Maybe I would even get to meet her. And that is just the nature of the beast.

    In a perfect world that money would go to the homeless, it would build schools, and it would help fix this nations infrastructure. However, money is wasted everyday. The example is the money being wasted in Iraq. Can you imagine what that money could buy? This isn’t a perfect world, we all know that, and I do not have a problem with this much money being spent on presidential campaigns. Hopefully those elected will give money back through different programs. Many times they do not, but the investment you make into person you want representing your country is very import. Perhaps they most important investment you can make.

  2. Tess permalink
    October 5, 2007 4:21 am

    I don’t really know much about the money behind presidential campaigns but I agree that too much money is being spent on elections. While this money could be spent on much better things, like helping the needy or something, the fact is that money is easily spent. Whether a celebrity, professional athlete, or politician–all have huge amounts of money at their disposal. Instead of improving the world, they use this money for selfish reasons. This isn’t to say that rich people don’t give to charities and try to help people. It’s just that when someone has a lot of money then they can use it to get what they want (and politicians know exactly what they want). In this day and age money can go a long way and the more a candidate has, the better. The sad truth is that this isn’t going to change any time soon. Promotions and media galas are now more important than the actual issues at hand, at least during election season. These candidates are simply commodities being packaged and advertised to the American people. I’m sick of this election already.

  3. Lara Aqel permalink
    October 5, 2007 2:14 pm

    Oh, blogger, thanks for bringing this up. The amount of money being spent on campaigns is gross. Just gross. A few weeks ago, I took a field trip to the World Bank with my SIS Gateway class, and a fellow student asked our speaker how ‘with all the homelessness, poverty, and economic problems we have in THIS country’ the World Bank feels comfortable only loaning to others? Probably not the most informed question if you know anything about the mission of the World Bank, but the kid was making a point… and the speaker (I really wish I could remember his name) made a counter-one:

    He said, ‘It’s not that this country doesn’t have the money to take care of its problems. The money is there and there’s plenty of it. It’s just horribly, horribly mismanaged. There are other countries, on the other hand, who just don’t have it’…

    Interesting. I want to bring up something else, as well, though. Sure, we could sit here and shake our heads disapprovingly at HOW MUCH money is going down the drain during campaign season, glancing at each other every now and then for affirmation of the disapproval and disgust we should each feel…

    BUT, then we’d be failing to consider a very sinister point this blogger briefly touched upon: that campaigns REALLY arent about the best (wo)/man for the job anymore. Plenty of otherwise eligible candidates just DON’T RUN because of how much it costs to be elected today. The best future president of the United States could be your local mayor… but we’ll never hear about him, because politics today is a game of green, not red, white, and blue.

    So much for truly representative democracy, hmm?

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