Money in Contemporary Politics

Jesse Brooks
If the 2010 midterms were any indication, the 2012 presidential election should be a knock down, dragout, politics as blood sport affair. Things should really begin to get exciting in the coming months, as (presumably) a republican favorite will emerge, couple this with a possible leftward primary challenge for Obama and all bets are off. 2012 will also be a transformative election because it will be the first presidential election after the citizens united ruling. This year we saw presidential election type money being spent in midterms, spending for 2012 should be off the charts. Because citizens united represents a significant paradigm shift, one which we won’t know the impact of until the campaign season gets going, I feel that any talk about fixing the system for presidential campaign finance would be inherently speculative, because we haven’t seen a presidential election under these very new rules yet. Still, while the specifics might be vague, its not tough to figure out the broad strokes of the impact that the ruling will have on presidential financing, that is to say there will likely be money being pumped into the 2012 election on a scale that we have never seen before. Couple citizens united with a troubled economy and genuine grass roots fears about the future of the United States as well as the interminable primary season, which only serves to feed the national news echo chamber and the result is constant white but non ambient noise.
Before citizens united blew up the levees, I actually thought that the 2008 presidential election was fundraised in a pretty democratic way. Obama received 88% of his contributions from individuals, McCain accepted federal assistance and only raised 54% of his money from individuals and 23% from the federal government. It was clear from very early on that Obama was going to outspend Mccain by a great deal McCain raised $370 million and spent $330 million Obama raised a staggering $745 million and spent $730...