Campaigning for Cash
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?