U.S. 2012 Elections Might Get Crazy

Posted January 22, 2010 in United States

I can still remember the spin of campaign wheels.

Remember how candidate Barack Obama was "palling around with terrorists?"

Whew, glad it's over, right? When the confetti settled, the Federal Election Commission tallied that $1.3 billion dollars had been crammed into campaigning. That's up 61 per cent from the 2004 election's $820 million, which was itself a 90 per cent increase from 2000's paltry $430 million.

But now a law which restricted campaign financing has changed, which means the next slew of campaigns will likely make 2008's ads look like they were made with a camcorder in your basement, in comparison.

Maybe Obama cast the first stone, which has just backfired biblically. Shying from the conservative financing route, he relied on small contributions from the Internet, netting him flocks of donations most pundits had never spotted. Poor McCain had to shuffle in Obama's shadow, with less than half the budget to broadcast a solution to the economy that was letting him down.

In light of this, the American Supreme Court removed restrictions that capped corporate campaign spending yesterday.

Many companies may decide not to contribute because it would be seen as picking sides. The New York Times article (linked above) suggests that companies like Microsoft and General Electric fear alienating investors. Funny choice of companies: Microsoft and General Electric own the left-leaning cable television news station MSNBC.

Obama (and McCain, for that matter) are against the change, but the Republican National Committee seems to smell blood in the water already. In 2012, we'll see which companies bite. And when they do, we'll learn whether ads are more potent than policy.