The 2016 US presidential election has been many things - vicious, straddling the line between truth and falsehoods and so unpredictable nothing comes as a surprise anymore.
And it’s also very, very expensive.
The people at Axo Finans have compiled this handy infographic to demonstrate just that.
Some key takeaways:
- Total spending is forecast to have increased eight-fold in 40 years with elections since the turn of the century seeing a particularly steep increase.
- In the 2012 US presidential election,
- So far Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have raised $722,652,528 between them (Trump total: $205,860,765 Clinton total: $516,791,763).
- The combined projected total for 2016 is $1.6 billion, $400,000,000 more than 2012.
- The gender disparity between financial contributors in 2016 is particularly interesting - 54% of those donating to Clinton are women compared to just 27% for Trump.
What is a super PAC?
PAC stands for Political Action Committee. Regular PACs raise and spend money supporting or attacking presidential candidates but are limited in how much they can give directly to a campaign and can only receive $5,000 from any one individual.
Super PACs function for the same purpose but are unrestrained in how much they can raise and spend although they are forbidden from donating directly to a campaign or coordinating with any candidate that benefits from their actions.
They were only introduced recently, becoming a major political force in 2012.
The total raised by these committees is not counted in the totals raised by individual candidates.
There are currently 2,338 Super PACs who often make attack ads like the one below produced by Rebuilding America Now to attack Clinton.
What are the rules around attack ads?
Basically there aren’t any and there are no current plans to introduce regulatory legislation.
Below is one of the earliest examples of a US election attack ad, used during the 1964 Presidential campaign by Lyndon Johnson against Barry Goldwater.
Playing up Cold War fears of the time, it was effective in convincing people that Goldwater’s aggressive foreign policy stance could result in nuclear armageddon.