Political Advertising and Other Woes

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching; corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.”

Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21 1864

This morning on the way into work, I heard Fleetwood Mac’s “Go Your Own Way.”  I was instantly transported back to the Clinton election campaign and became somewhat nauseous. It’s not because of Clinton himself, though I’m not a fan nor supporter, but because he took a good song and ruined it for me.  I hate it when good songs are used for whatever purpose and then become associated with something else that have negative connotations in my life.

Because of this song, I began thinking about this Presidential election and politics in general.  I’m not as knowledgable about politics as I should be – probably because my stomach churns when I think about the muck and the mire that makes up the election process.

One of the biggest problems that irks me is the PAC/ SuperPAC campaign spending / donation process. I don’t quite understand how all of that works. I read up on wikipedia to get an idea and I’m still confused to be quite honest. However, something caught my eye and made me heartsick.

As of February 2012, according to Center for Responsive Politics, 313 groups organized as Super PACs had received $98,650,993 and spent $46,191,479. This means early in the 2012 election cycle, PACs had already greatly exceeded total receipts of 2008. The leading Super PAC on its own raised more money than the combined total spent by the top 9 PACS in the 2008 cycle.[72]


The 2012 figures don’t include funds raised by State level PACs nor funds raised by national level non-profit groups that pool “soft-funds”. Spending by non-profits, also called 527 organizations, exceeded $500 million in the 2010 election cycle with the two largest organizations being the Republican Governors Association $131,873,954 and the Democratic Governors Association $64,708,253 [73] Spending by the 527 organizations for the 2012 is expected to be double and much will be derived from donors kept hidden from voters.[74]
I understand to run an election campaign, it takes money; however, wouldn’t it be a refreshing change to see someone do it without spending millions of dollars on television ads – there are all sorts of new media ideas out there that aren’t as costly? It makes me sick because all of that money is being wasted on blue sky – which is what advertising is. And why all the bashing? Why not tout what you can do, your accomplishments and all of that? Just once I would like to see a positive campaign run by a politician. 
Most people do not like negative political ad campaigns. And frankly, most people are so sick of political ads by the time  the election comes they don’t want to see another one.  And the cost of these ads is astronomical – especially in tightly contested states.  By election day, Romney and Obama campaigns and other independent groups will have spent about $1.1 billion on television advertising in 2012,  with $750 million already allocated in the handful of states likely to determine the outcome of the contest — Colorado, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin according to Kantar-Campaign Media Analysis Group estimates. Florida tops the list, with more than $150 million spent by both sides so far. Is that not assinine? (Thank you Yahoo for that info.)  
There are many different ways to get your message out to people that spending that kind of money isn’t as “vital” as it used to be. These politicians need to find a campaign strategist that is able to think out of the box and use new media as well as traditional branding to cut costs and put out a more positive message. 
I think people are smarter than the political machine gives them credit for. I think most decide early on who they are voting for and only a tiny slice of the pie is actually up for grabs.  The politicians would be better served focusing on the debates, their credibility and what they really have to offer than wasting millions of dollars on an uncertain number of votes.  

Your vote matters… if you don’t vote – you have no say in anything that happens. You don’t even have the right to sit and bitch about how this country is being run.  On election day, get out and vote. Many people have given their lives so you can cast your ballot. I’ll be there at the polls. Will you?

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country. “

John F. Kennedy

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