Most of us are tired of the presidential campaign that started too early and is in our faces daily. But the end is near. With each news mention, each advertisement, each sign, I think about all the money each of the major candidates has spent.
The Washington Post published the amount of money raised as of October 19: $1.3 bllion for Clinton and $795 million for Trump. These amounts should cause a collective, Wow.
What a waste. I’m seasoned enough to recall when campaign ads were informative, negative ads were considered political suicide, and politicians at least pretended to be nice folk. Most recent ads play on the ignorant and lazy: those who don’t research how the candidates stand on issues, those who are too lazy to determine in what context a quote was made, and those who don’t understand how the government works.
The money spent on campaigns could have served the people. What if candidates were selected based on the uses to which they put campaign funds? True, the federal government doesn’t allow the augmentation of its budget with donations (crazy, huh?), but the candidates could have done projects in some state and local governments and nonprofit organizations. Their $2,000,000,000+ could have been used in this country to:
- update roads
- construct improvements in parks,
- provide technology to schools
- install items in homes to allow seniors to remain in their housing
- research cures for diseases
- supplement law enforcement budgets
- train the unemployed
- clean up blighted areas of cities
- install street lighting
- improve library systems and collections
- assist with controlling and eliminating environmental hazards
- prepare the incarcerated to be productive, contributing citizens upon release
- enhance free legal services programs
- directly lower the taxes of citizens with income below a specified amount
There’d be no need for ads and commercials. Media coverage would publicize how candidates use their campaign funds. Debates would provide the opportunity for candidates not only to present their platforms on major issues, but also to announce what projects they have funded and will fund, which areas they perceive as needing the most assistance, and why.
And we, the voters, would have the opportunity to experience a positive campaign, benefit from the use of campaign money to enhance this country, and use the projects and project locations as indicators of which pockets of the country are likely to benefit from the election of a particular candidate.
We can only hope.
The Washington Post article may be found at https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/politics/2016-election/campaign-finance/ .