By Paul Gable
A special election for Horry County Council chairman this week and in the S.C. 1st Congressional District next week brings to the front the influence of elections by money in politics again.
Some startling statistics track over a period from 1974 – 2010 for Congressional elections and 1976 – 2008 in Presidential elections.
In 1974, total campaign spending for the House of Representatives was $44 million. By 2010 total campaign had reached $929 million, a factor of 20 times.
Senate campaigns in 1974 totaled $28.4 million while by 2010 that number inflated to $568 million, another 20 times expansion.
The 1976 Presidential election total was $66.9 million. By 2008, presidential candidates spent $1.325 billion (yes with a B).
This type of spending by candidates is not funded by $25 and $50 donations from people who care about a candidate, party or political philosophy. They are major donations by the big money crowd to advance their particular agendas.
That these agendas often work at odds with the needs and wants of the average citizen goes without saying.
And these numbers don’t just apply to federal elections, the same type of expansion can be seen at the state and local level political campaigns.
Sounds to me very much like the best government money can buy.
Why is this done? To get the name and advertising of the preferred candidate of big money out to as many voters as possible. Get the candidate’s name in the mind of the voter as often as possible. It’s a takeoff on Herman Goering’s statement at the Nuremberg trials, ‘If you tell the big lie often enough, the people will believe it.’
Therefore, the one piece of advice I would offer for voting this week and next is find out the candidate who has spent the most money on his or her campaign and choose elsewhere.
In that way, you spend a better chance of voting for a candidate who cares, at least a little bit, about the people and good government, instead of special interests.
Otherwise, there is a very good chance your tax dollars will be used in one way or another as payback to the big money interests for their investment in political candidates.