Friday, April 20, 2012

Presidential Elections: The Money

The gatekeeper for money spent on federal electoral context is the Federal Election Commission. It publishes mountains of data but in forms so opaque that real labor is necessary to tease out totals. That work, however, is undertaken by public service organizations, among the (link). The data I am showing comes from that source but was obtained from the FEC. Herewith contributions to the Presidential campaigns beginning with the one in 1976, Jimmy Carter beating Gerald Ford.

The raw dollar expenditures are growing, whether we measure them in dollars or as percent of Gross Domestic Product. The total contributions to these campaigns don’t amount to much, but of late they have been rising. Two points don’t make a trend. Adding 2012 results (which I will do next year sometime), may signal that the effort to buy the presidency, rather than just compete for it on well-reasoned issues, is continuing apace. We’ll see.

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