Campaign Finance: How Much Is Too Much?

1527 words - 6 pages

With $1.7 billion spent on the 2008 presidential election, how much is too much? In the 2004 presidential election George W. Bush and John Kerry spent a combined $646.7 million, while President Barrack Obama spent 740.6 million of the $1.7 billion total on the 2008 election alone (Salant). The overall amount of money spent in the presidential elections has been increasing greatly over time and there seems to be no limit on the amount of money the presidential candidates are able to raise and spend on their campaigns. The presidential candidates have far too much money at their disposal and it has greatly affected the way elections are ran and who gets elected to the highest office position. A solution to this problem could possibly be implementing a spending cap on how much money a candidate is allowed to spend on their entire campaign. That would not only even out the playing field allowing more and possibly better candidates to run for office but also limit the voices of big businesses trying to buy support of their own business in Washington.

In hopes of drawing more attention their way and creating a bandwagon effect, a candidate will focus their strategies and funds towards a positive appearance of themselves on television as much as possible. Although the media progresses a candidate’s lead in the election, this can be unfair because whichever candidate puts a greater amount of money towards campaigning he or she will reach a larger audience than their opponent, giving them the unfair advantage. With television being the fastest and easiest way to reach the largest audience, it’s no surprise nearly half of the funds raised by candidates end up going towards their television advertisements. Television is not cheap either, depending on the location and time an advertisement is running, a one minute spot can cost an excess of $100,000. The Obama campaign with their record breaking fundraising were able to buy a 30 minute slot on all the major US channels besides ABC and CNN. Once the start of the Major League Baseball World Series game was agreed to be delayed by 15 minutes, Fox also agreed to air the 30 minute advertisement. The Fact that the MLB World Series game was pushed back shows just how much the campaign had to spend and pursway the major networks to allow this advertisement to happen.

The millions of dollars worth of airtime bought up by all the candidates wasn’t the only part of television that cost an absurd amount of money, so did everything that went into the commercial advertisements and appearances, such as the clothes, the film crews, the renting of the sound stages, someone to write the speeches and to create all the themes. “Political consulting- the right themes, slogans, and speeches presented in scripted television spots- has become a big business. In most contests, the winner is the one who spent the most money, most of it on television.”(Roskin, pg 166) This makes the amount of money a candidate has at his or her...

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