American Culture

Candidates: Just send me a check next November

The political money keeps on flowing.

Hillary says she raised $27 million in the last three months and proclaims impending victory. Barack says he’s still on top overall and adding another $20 million to his total. John (the Dem) says he got $7 million. Others aren’t talking — yet — but Federal Election Commission totals* will be available shortly.

Let’s try to put the campaign fundraising in some context, shall we?

The eventual nominees will probably raise about $500 million each — a total of $1 billion. Let’s say about six top-tier candidates average about $100 million each by the primaries.

Overall, the significant (at least financially) presidential candidates will likely raise about $1.6 billion.

According to the United States Election Project, about 122.2 million out of 202 million people eligible to vote in 2004 did so.

If that same number votes in the 2008 general election, then the candidates will have raised about $13 a vote.

Now add in the soft money raised and spent by the national and state Democratic and Republican campaign committees. Then add in the money raised and spent by the 527 advocacy groups that have no “official” ties to the candidates. (Earlier, I noted that all candidates for all offices and political groups are likely to spend about $3 billion on TV advertising in 2008.)

I can see that cost per vote approaching double that $13. Frankly, I’d rather they just send me a check for $25. It’d help pay for gas to get to the polls.

(*After Oct. 15, check the FEC presidential fundraising totals at