The crazy world of presidential fundraisers

This election has revealed the extreme donations candidates receive.

Hemang Sharma

The 2012 presidential election is just 40 days away. Both President Barack Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney’s campaigns are doing everything in their power to make sure they have enough money to run assiduous campaigns. Both are relying heavily on big donors to send in big donations, which is a smart strategy in the long run.

In an election season, money buys reach, and reach can get a candidate votes. Campaign contributions go toward organizing massive rallies, humongous outdoor signs, TV attack ads and other tools that seem savvy in choosing the country’s leader for the next four years.

Mitt Romney vilified the “47 percent of Americans who are not paying income taxes” at a $50,000 per person country club fundraiser in Florida. His approach is to rely heavily on affluent Americans from business fields; CEOs, media moguls, etc. ABC news reported Romney raised approximately $8 million from just two wealthy fundraisers in Michigan earlier this summer. Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul, has made multiple donations totaling several million and pledged even more to Romney super PACs. Interestingly enough, Romney’s tax plan would save Adelson $2 billion, as reported in the Huffington Post.

Obama is also trying to woo wealthy donors. Hollywood elite like George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Robert Downey Jr. and other superstars helped him raise more than $15 million in one day. Last week Obama appeared at a NYC nightclub with power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé and raised more than $6 million. Obama’s using pop culture figures like Jay Leno, David Letterman and Bill Maher to score big bucks and influence young voters. As the Minnesota Daily reported this week, Obama’s finances are looking far better than Romney’s.

Ever since Citizens United, the political fundraising in the U.S. has seen monumental financial figures. The Supreme Court verdict that allowed corporations to donate virtually unlimited amount of contributions to political campaigns through PACs has essentially streamlined the political contribution by average Americans and caused a divide that has a total disregard for the middle class and less fortunate in America, the very people both candidates claim this election to be about. How valued is an average voter supposed to feel when the cost of attending these fundraisers to meet these candidates is more than their annual gross income?