Money in Politics and Its Impact on Democracy

“Look, I’m not a young guy. That’s no secret,” says a smiling Biden, looking directly at the camera. “But, here’s the deal. I understand how to get things done for the American people.”
This is Biden’s first advertisement after his dynamic State of the Union speech in Congress, attempting to put an end to the criticism he receives regarding his age.

What is the cost of this advertising campaign? Thirty million dollars.

The fact that the campaign for the election of a politician, especially a presidential candidate, uses the same marketing principles as those used, for example, to sell a brand of soap, is not something new. It is fully documented in classic books like “The Selling of the President 1968” by Joe McGinniss and a series of books by Theodore H. White.

If anything, over time, the method improves with new technologies that make marketing more effective. However, at the same time, the amount spent on electing a politician increases, with presidential elections being the most expensive.

It is estimated that this year’s presidential elections will be the most expensive in history. The 2020 elections cost $14.4 billion.

This year, it is estimated that this astronomical amount will be exceeded.

Less than a quarter of the total comes from small donors – donations smaller than $250. The rest comes from large donors.

There are some restrictions on donations, but also many “loopholes” that allow the legal donation of large sums of money.

So, a question that has been raised for years – and becomes more acute over time – is how does money influence elections and thus democracy itself?

Does someone who simply votes, someone who donates $250, and someone else who donates $100,000 and more, have the same ‘vote’?

Does money not distort or alter the essence and spirit of democracy? Does it not tilt the scale towards wealthy donors, who, of course, do not offer their money solely out of patriotism?

This is a very serious issue, yet there is such an interdependence of politicians and donors that even discussing it is for the sake of appearances. Otherwise, we make a big deal about democracy!


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