The American Elections: Campaign Spending

The U.S. government allows the funding of campaigns from taxpayers' money if they meet some requirements like being the candidate being popular/wanted enough. And if they abide by some rules, The most important of which is that the candidate's campaign spending must be limited to an amount that the government sets, in this case the government audits all the money spent in the campaign and receives receipts for everything spent to make sure the amount wasn't exceeded. Also the candidate cannot spend more than $50,000 from her/his own bank account and can accept donations from non-members of the party in very few cases.

If the candidate chooses not to use the federal funding, they're free to spend any amount of money they choose according to the donations they receive from supporters and their party. But since the funding they receive from the federal government ($84 million) is big, it's not easy for many candidates to raise this amount of money and so most of them accept federal funding.

In our elections there was a limit to all candidates' spending and it was supposed to be audited by the government (although it never was). Candidates were to spend of their own money and collect donations to a certain limit. The aim of putting this limit even if the money was not given from the government is to give everybody, whether popular or not, whether on the side of the poor or the rich, an equal opportunity that is not mainly based on the amount of money in campaigning. But since the limit given was L.E. 10 million, this was actually useless. It was useless anyway.

In the 2008 elections (and more than a year before it started), the back-then Democrats' presidential candidate Barack Obama decided not to take the federal funding and raised $750 million for his campaign...

Today, if you open the Democrats' website this would be the first thing you'll see:

This is the frontpage of the Democrats' website, it asks the visitors of the website for donations for the campaign. This is how important money is in the American Elections. They don't buy votes or IDs, they don't give out cooking oil or sugar, they don't bribe people, yet they use money, lots of it!

Since Obama's 2008 campaign was huge, I've chosen to take a look at its expenditures to see what they did with all these millions. Below is the pie chart of the campaign expenditures (source

As you can see, more than 50% of the money was spent on Media. Tells you how much of an influence the media is on people. More than $240 million were spent only on broadcast media and $20 million on print media. In our elections Amr Moussa spent a lot of money on media, but it resulted in nothing after his appearance in the televised debate with Abo El Fotooh, so yes it's not only the money. Shafiq's and Morsy's campaigns were also big, but they spent their money elsewhere, we all know where.

Obama's campaign has also spent $60 million on traveling for them to roam the whole country and have tens of conferences ($32 million on events) in as many states as possible. They also know very well their target voters ($28 million on polling/survey/research) and choose very well where to start their tours and how long they spend there.

This is how the money is spent in the U.S. elections, no bribes, just a lot of hard work that is well prepared and researched for. I keep thinking how our ex-candidates would have spent this amount of money, and I can think of nothing but bribes and "charity".


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