Mid-Term Election; Unprecedented Spending, Uninspiring Results.
The Mid-Term Election is one of the costliest in History, but was it worth it.
While the yard signs may still dot America’s scenic highways and manicured front lawns, thankfully the obnoxious advertisements will now cease. We can all go back to watching our favorite TV shows and listening to the radio without the interruption of outlandish commercials trying to sway our coveted vote.
The Mid-Term Election is over, whew! That is unless you live in Florida or Arizona. To date, nearly $3 billion was spent on this election cycle which changed the balance of power in Washington DC. The Democrats will now control the House, and the Republicans the Senate. It’s settled!
In case you were wondering
The $3 billion spent, equates to $1,129,092.96 for every candidate running for office. An unprecedented amount, for sure. But, the cynic in me looks at this…well, more cynically. Since 2151 of those candidates will never raise their right hand to be sworn in, can we assume those unsuccessful candidates wasted a cool $2,428,678,961.23? And yes, that’s billion with a B! A number so large it could have changed many lives in such a positive manner. Certainly, a lost opportunity!
Wasted, I say emphatically, YES!
Because too much money goes into campaigns now, and its ruining the process. For instance, $372.5 million was spent in the entire 1980 congressional elections which is small potatoes compared to this year. Fast forward to 2018 and that $372.5 Million is nearly what was spent on the candidates in Texas and Missouri, alone.
I realize we have to figure in inflation, but good grief, 80X in 38 Years?
The rise of Super PAC’s and ideological groups have lead to an increase in spending. The most devastating change to campaign finance has been The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, commonly referred to as the McCain-Feingold Act. It has caused a tectonic shift of contributions away from the Parties to many unaccountable “covert” contributors, and has created “Dark Money“.
Why the Shift
McCain-Feingold, prohibited wealthy individuals and large corporations from making contributions to national party committees. But, all of these large contributions were publicly disclosed! Where’s the harm? At least there was a paper trail, of where the money came from. Now, because of McCain-Feingold, individual and corporate donors are free to direct their funds to outside groups, where donations are concealed from public scrutiny. Oops! That was not the intent. Politicians, in their infinite wisdom, never seem to account for all the collateral damage laws of this magnitude, have on the system.
How do we fix it
Reform, or get rid of McCain-Feingold altogether, that’s a great start. I would like to think there could be a bi-partisan agreement on this since it affects both major parties. In a perfect world, reform would look like this: For every dollar spent by a Super-Pac or another organization on a campaign, then a dollar goes to the pay off the national debt, or to fund Medicare or Social Security.
Though my scheme is simplistic, and there would have to be lots of details worked out, it does solve two major problems facing the future of this country. 1. The integrity of our free elections. 2. The destruction of our democracy through financial ineptitude. Both of which are on a collision course of monumental proportions.
The 116th congress will make its debut in January 2019. We can expect a lot of new faces, many spirited opinions, and colossal disagreements. Perhaps the $3 billion spent on this election cycle will prove a worthy investment if and only if, it attracts enough legislative attention to make meaningful change.
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