When I Am Queen of Everything: Making Campaign Season Suck Less

When I Am Queen of Everything: Making Campaign Season Suck Less

Adrienne BoettingerFriday,17 October 2014

The Snap:

Running for election/reelection is its own little industry. Actually, not even that little; according to FEC data as of October 13, people running for the House of Representatives raised $761 million and Senate candidates raised over $415 million, with Republicans banking more than Democrats in both chambers. In 2012, people who won seats in the House raised an average of $1.7 million and winners in the Senate raised nearly $10.5 million. It’s gotten so that even state and local elections are insanely expensive. But where does all that money go? Can you run for election without getting extra mortgages on your house, selling your kids’ essential organs or selling your soul to the highest bidding lobbyist?

The Download:

They used to say democracy was paid for in blood by those who fought to make the country free. Now it is paid for in billions of dolla-dolla-bills from lobbyists, bundlers, megadonors and PACs who all want something specific from their bought…er…elected representatives.

The biggest chunk of fundraising over the duration of a campaign goes to “administrative costs” — a category including pizza for campaign volunteers, health care for staffers, first-class tickets to and from Washington, and candidates’ $400 haircuts. Then there’s media which makes up a bigger portion of the campaign budget the closer it gets to the actual election. Next up is spending money to raise more money.

But do ads actually work? People still watch a ton of TV, despite what pundits predicted. That’s especially true when it comes to some of the biggest age groups of voters — those 44 and older. So spending money on TV ads seems like a good idea but the fact of the matter is there is no good data on the effectiveness of political ads. Negative ads appear to be more memorable than positive ones but that doesn’t mean people who run negative ads will get more votes. Research suggests that campaign ads really don’t make that much of a difference.

You’d think with the lack of conclusive data to show that spending gazillions of dollars on campaign ads will win you an election people wouldn’t waste money on ad buying.  Turn on the TV or radio, check the Interwebz, or even drive your car down major roads as elections near and you’ll realize that’s not the case. And with campaign season now starting as soon as the one before it ends, candidates have to raise more money over a longer period of time.

When I Am Queen of Everything, campaign season will be limited to one month prior to the primaries and two months prior to general elections. Negative ads will be twice as expensive as positive ones, with the extra money going to homeless shelters, animal rescues and community centers. And if you still want to run a negative, mudslinging ad you will be forced to wear a bright orange vest with the word “ASSHAT” in glowing letters on the front and back of the vest. And I’ll tell your mothers, elementary school teachers and neighbors all the jackass things you’re saying. Campaign spending limits will be set at $10,000 for national office, $5,000 for state office, and $1,000 for local office. And as we’ve indicated previously, if you take any money from a PAC or industry, the name of the people who own you will be tattooed across your forehead so the voters can see exactly who is calling the shots.

And to show that you can run a campaign without being a complete dick to your opponents, here’s some inspiration from the candidates for Sheriff in northern Kentucky.

Take Action!

Hat Tips:

Open SecretsTechdirtMaplightNBC NewsCNNMarketplaceTimeNielsenRoper CenterNPRAmerican Psychological Association, Image Credit: Flickr



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