CAN THEY BUY YOU FOR A DOLLAR? HOW ABOUT $1.89?
I just read a Washington Post story about President Bush's recent, lucrative fundraising stop in California
. The report estimates that Mr. Bush seeks to raise a warchest of around $200 Million for the 2004 campaign. I presume that Mr. Bush's major opponent will attempt to raise a comparable, though perhaps much lesser amount before the General Election.
My World Almanac shows that 105,360,260 votes were cast for US President in 2000. Assuming a similar number of voters in 2004, my calculator says that Mr. Bush is therefore looking to spend about $1.89 per voter. His main opponent will probably not spend as much, but I doubt it will be less than a dollar per head. When you figure in all the primary campaigning and third-party spending that will occur between now and November, 2004, perhaps the campaigns will spend between 5 and 10 dollars to get you to go to the polls and state your preference.
Of course, that money won't go directly to you. For the most part, it will go to speechwriters, ad agencies, and media companies, in an attempt to persuade you to vote for a particular candidate. Even so, I must admit to feeling rather insulted that the political players believe my vote is worth so little. Could a politician buy your
vote for a couple of bucks, or even a ten-spot, worth of "influence"?
The money they will be spending, goes toward smoke and mirrors that keep you from asking two key questions: "Am I better off in terms of my income and
my ability to make my own decisions for myself, than I was at the time of the last election?" And, "What contribution did the politicians who won the last election make, if any, to my current situation?" Do yourself a favor before the next election: ask those questions seriously and take some time to answer them to your own satisfaction. As I write this, we all have a good sixteen months for that essential exercise, before we exercise our franchise, ideally with wide open eyes, and not holding our noses as we hand the prize to a mainstream politician we would otherwise despise.