Best election money can buy?
The best election money can buy? In 2012, that depends on who’s asking: the mega-rich cronies, companies and unions paying millions for ads that attack the candidates they aim to defeat — or the voters who have to wade through the morass of misinformation on their way to the polls.
In any case, This is shaping up as the most expensive election in history, with an estimated $2.5 billion stumped up for Obama and Romney combined, and an unprecedented $5.8 billion predicted for presidential and congressional elections in total, according to the Washington-based watchdog Center for Responsive Politics. That’s enough to cover the national debt of Uganda.
This election has also spawned a new buzzphrase: black money. Although the “Super PACs” — political action committees that can spend limitless amounts to support their preferred candidates, as long as they don’t actually co-ordinate with official campaigns — may disclose their donors, a new category of “non-profit” activist groups keep theirs largely secret. “The real difference in this (election cycle) is how great a portion of (campaign) money will come from purportedly independent, often secretive groups,” says the centre’s Sheila Krumholz.
The money sunk into this campaign may buy not only the election, but also favours that the backers could call in after it’s over. For instance, brothers David and Charles Koch — known as the Kochtopus for the reach of their political tentacles — are oil and chemicals magnates. They pledged $130 million for Republican candidates who support their free-enterprise, anti-regulation agenda. Unions, meanwhile, have backed liberal politicians and the Democratic Party.
“Money is talking,” writes Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in EcoWatch. “In 97 per cent of federal elections over the past two decades, the best-funded candidates were victorious.”