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    Monster Election Campaign Divides States of America
    By Enrico Uva | November 1st 2012 07:20 AM | 7 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Enrico

    I majored in chemistry, worked briefly in the food industry and at Fisheries and Oceans. I then obtained a degree in education. Since then I have...

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    Overextended, uncivil in spirit and costly, elections in both the United States and Canada are ironically becoming insulting to both democracy and thought.

    The 2011 Canadian election cost about $300-million - up from $198-million in 2000. Per capita, that amounts to about $9. This year's American elections will cost an estimated 5.8 billion dollars or $18 per capita. And while Canadians have been flabbergasted by 50% election-cost inflation over a little more than a decade, the rate of increase south of the border has been a whopping 80%.

    On a per capita basis it sounds like a trivial amount, but if the election costs could be cut in half, you could hire an extra 8000 nurses with that money and keep paying their salaries for as long as you have discounted elections.

    Numbers aside, the damaging tone and theatrics of American elections was the topic of the editorial commentary on our national(CBC) news last night. I will let the eloquent Rex Murphy conclude this blog with thoughts I strongly agree with:
    If you support Obama – you’re for all that is progressive, open-minded and modern. You’re a cosmopolitan savant. If you support Romney you’re a patriot, helping to save American from blundering into socialism and bankruptcy. These are not points to be argued – they are declarations of identity – they are battle cries. Political parties in the US resemble huge clans insisting on utter fealty.
    Because the system is calcified – there is only a sprinkling of people who are not in the corral of either party. In other words a splinter of the electorate is the pivot on which all politics must turn. Presidential campaigns are – inverted pyramids – not the most democratic design.
    America’s proper name is the United States – common will and shared purpose are its greatest strengths. Feverish, hyper-financed, and fixed-bayonet partisanship drains most of the meaning from that ‘United’ – it divides.
    And did not a great man, a great American too, once warn about a “house divided.”
    For The National, I’m Rex Murphy.



    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19052054


    http://m.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/election-costs-have-skyrocketed-in-past-decade/article1968015/?service=mobile

    Comments

    Hank
    Well, isn't this a glass half empty approach? The people defending the cost of the elections in Canada say it's an investment in democracy. If Canada spends $12 this year and America spends $18, maybe we just care 50% more about democracy??  :)

    Really, our problem is no one has to obey campaign finance reform.  Pres. Obama was lucky enough in 2008 to run against the co-creator of campaign finance reform, so all he had to do was decide not to use public financing and McCain was stuck with his cap and - voila - he was able to raise and spend twice as much, as much as Bush and Kerry did combined 4 years earlier.  Today, Republicans have obviously chosen to be just as unethical and that is why we will have even higher costs than they project in that article.
    MikeCrow
    Neither Obama nor Romney took any public funds. They could have got ~$91 Million each. And I think the conventions get some federal funds ($18 million comes to mind).
    So, our election are mostly self funded. Both sides has their share of big donors.
    Never is a long time.
    Hank
    That's what I said. In 2008 only McCain used public financing, but in every election since 1972 all candidates had, until President Obama pulled a switcheroo and changed his mind, giving him the ability to outspend his opponent 2:1.  What we have now is so unethical even Nixon didn't do it. 
    MikeCrow
    I know, my point was that it wasn't paid out of tax money (so no $18/capita, maybe $1-2), so while it's stupid amounts of money, as long as both sides have the same rules .........

    I would rather the laws be something else, but for now they're not.
    Never is a long time.
    UvaE
     So, our election are mostly self funded. Both sides has their share of big donors.

    Regardless of where the money comes from, it's still a marathon of excesses on many levels. 
    MikeCrow
    True, but it's how some willing spend their own money.
    I'd rather that my guy just won, or had it in the bag.
    Never is a long time.
    First, I should say that I am apolitical. I neither endorse nor oppose based on ideology, party affiliations, sex, hair color, or shoe size. Instead, I try to judge which candidate will serve the country the best given my limited worldview. Those facts likely place me squarely near the end of the long tail. Sadly, in many cases, (lately it seems ‘most’) I tend to cast my vote for the least objectionable choice.

    The amounts of money spent to elect our president amazes me. Where does all of this money go? I suppose most of it goes to the media and some goes to pay salaries. A more pointed question is: Where does all this money come from?

    Essentially, it comes from the citizens. Whether it comes directly from Federal funds or from donors, consumers will pay the total bill. We know who pays in Federal funds, so who are the ‘donors’? There are certainly wealthy folks who write huge checks to the various political parties. There are the fundraisers, which also generate substantial moneys. However, I suspect the major players in the funding game are the special interest groups. I define special interest groups a coalition of likeminded entities who are either (1) expecting rather large monetary gains, or (2) fearful of rather large monetary losses.

    My cynical take on this state of affairs is that whoever is elected will be expected to foster the needs of the group that gave her/him the most money. It is all about the money and the power that money wields.

    Perhaps we should be thankful that it is ‘only’ costing us $18-20 per head.