The Great Political Arms Race

by Jake Grovum

If ever it were true, this year’s campaigns across the country have become more of an arms race than ever before, according to the non-partisan Center for Responsive Politics, making it the most expensive campaing season ever The center estimates the federal campaigns will spend $5.3 billion by the time it’s all said and done. The presidential candidates will spend more than $2.4 billion by Election Day. That’s double the 2004 election campaign by $300 million and triple the spending of 2000. As for the parties, Democrats have collected more than double the amount raised in 2004 — likely thanks to Barack Obama’s historic fundraising juggernaut — while Republican fundraising grew just 2 percent. Interestingly enough, given the current economic crisis, the securities/investment industry has given $122.8 million (the third most of any group) with real estate right behind at $105.5 million. Moreover, the finance, insurance and real estate industries have dominated political contributions, with more than $373 million. Democrats have enjoyed a "slight edge" in this sector. Say what you want about fundraising, but I can’t help but see this as somewhat wrong. With Americans losing their homes to foreclosures and Congress and President Bush passing the $700 billion "bailout" or "rescue" bill, it seems that, perhaps, politicians shouldn’t be raising and spending such obscene amount of money. But this is American politics, and it has indeed become a political arms race.