The ability to finance a campaign can be the most powerful asset of a candidate. An issue that can arise is how great of a role campaign finances play on the success of the candidate. The ability to raise more money than the opponent gives the candidate an advantage and the ability to donate more money allows certain voices to be heard. The funds that come directly to campaigns are regulated, but still reach a large amount. Unregulated funds have by removed, but there are ways around the new laws. Interest groups have formed and use their resources to push for their beliefs to be heard. The realization that money, power, and connections allow certain groups of people to have more say in the government leads to the suggestion the government is not representative. The government has attempted to regulate the power of money in campaigns, but many of their efforts have failed.
The entire 2008 campaign was the most expensive in the history of the United States, involving $5.3 billion in spending by the candidates. The 2008 presidential candidates spent a total of $1.3 billion, which doubled what was spent in 2004. The amount has been exponentially increasing since 1996 when it was around $250 million. The biggest fallout of the costs of a presidential election is that a candidate cannot be considered serious unless he produces a large amount of funds. President Obama set a new precedent when his funding was set on track to reach $650 million. He attracted over 3 million people to donate and most of them did not give him more than $250.
Both candidates used the process of creating bundlers who collect money from friends and associates and compile them . McCain utilized 851 bundlers and Obama used 605 bundlers, which is a growing number since George W. Bush had an unheard of 555 bundlers. This is a relatively new idea that increases the amount of donors. If more people are being recruited to donate by these bundlers there is more awareness of the candidate and his policies. This will allow candidates to grow stronger based upon how many bundlers they can recruit.
In an attempt to regulate the influences of big money on campaign finance and ensure a fair contest, the United States created government matching funds. Government matching funds are given to presidential candidates who qualify and who choose to accept and spend only that money on their general election campaign. The candidate is limited to how much money they can directly receive. If a presidential candidate accepts this money they cannot use what is left over on campaign efforts after the primary election. This system is gradually becoming obsolete because of the low amount of money a candidate can raise; Barack Obama recently stated that this system was unrealistic and would require an overhaul.
[...] The money could be spent directly by the candidate, which gives them more control of how their campaign operates One of the most effective sources of campaign financing is interest groups. Some groups have large amounts of resources to help a campaign, which allows their opinions to be taken seriously. James Madison was worried about these “factions” forming, because he saw it as a “disease” that would ruin a representative government. Interest groups can be powerful based on their financial resources, population, or intensity. [...]
[...] Before the 2010 mid-term elections they spent more than 3 to 1 on Republican candidates over Democratic candidates. This most likely was because of the desire for the Republican Party to gain control in Congress and super PACs became to best way to raise a substantial amount of funds. PACs can be formed by political parties, interest groups, corporations, or individual candidates. Many individual candidates create the PACs in the effort of their election or nomination. They are not just used in Congress or Presidential elections, but can be created to fund an individual's campaign for a presidential nomination. [...]
[...] The NRA has donated $16 million to campaigns from 1990 to 2006. They use their money as a strong force to get their beliefs heard by also donating $16 million to lobbyists and several million more to advertising and promotion to move the polls their way. The NRA contains 4 million people, but there is most likely more people who disagree with the policies they push. The difference between the NRA and its adversaries having power is the joint interest and intensity the NRA applies. [...]
[...] As seen by President Obama, many times being a public figure can increase voter awareness and swing votes in their direction.2 The money that comes directly to candidates is called hard money, which is what the public financing funds would be matching. This money can be given by political action committees, individuals, political parties, and the government. If the candidate has the ability to raise a large amount of hard money they can create a stronger campaign. The higher the funding of a campaign the more freedom and power it will have. [...]
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