The just-completed election was the most expensive ever. And despite all of that money, nothing changed. Barack Obama is still president. Republicans still control the House. Democrats still control the Senate.
The Center for Responsive Politics figures the presidential race alone cost $2.6 billion. Spending on Senate and House races ran more than $1.8 billion. Spending by outside “independent” organizations totaled nearly a billion dollars. Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson spent more than $50 million, including $35 million on “super pacs” supporting Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney.
And then there are candidates who will spend large chunks of their own fortune, like Linda McMahon. She made her money through World Wrestling Entertainment and went down for the count not once, but twice — losing consecutive Senate races in Connecticut. By some estimates, she spent a total of more than $75 million, but still couldn’t win an open seat.
It seems ironic that this expensive election was mostly about how the government can be more fiscally responsible. Some questions to spark dinner conversation:
1. Can you think of a better way to spend nearly $6 billion dollars?
2. With the rules wide open on outside spending in campaigns, is there any way to reverse this trend?
3. What responsibility do the candidates have when it comes to campaign spending?
4. Politicians claim they are constantly fundraising. Do you think that discourages some people from entering politics?