Is anyone else dismayed at the obscene amounts of money being spent on campaigns this election season? Obama has raised more than $600 million in his quest for the presidency. He originally stated – promised – that he would participate in the public financing system. Yet, when he started raking in millions of dollars, he broke his promise and started spending as much as he could. John McCain held to his vow to use public financing, which limits his overall spending. Obama can spend as much as he wants to. On every major websites from news to YouTube to Facebook, I see nothing but Obama ads. He is running one of the biggest advertising campaigns in history and it’s working. Social psychologists have shown that people like those to whom they have more exposure. The more advertisements we see or hear for Obama, the more likely we are to like him and therefore vote for him, regardless of his policies or competency. Obama, with his hundreds of millions, can vastly outspend McCain and effectively buy the presidency.
This is the biggest issue I have with how campaigns are run. Those with the most money (not just their own but also that of donors) will often win the election. It’s not always true but it’s sad that our elections are so money-focused. I think it would be better if the candidates were given a specific amount of money (let’s say $20 million) and had to manage that money effectively for their campaign. I know that it is important to get to know the candidates but candidates do not need to spend anywhere close to what they do. It would be interesting to see what pre-election polls were like if Obama and McCain had the same amount of money to spend. Whatever happened to electing the most qualified candidate and not the one with the deepest pockets (who could be the most qualified but that doesn’t detract from my argument)?