Topic: compare the money to the money raised for the2004 presidential campaign (Bush v. Kerry) where each candidate spent between 200-250 million.

Topic: compare the money to the money raised for the2004 presidential campaign (Bush v. Kerry) where each candidate spent between 200-250 million.

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The last presidential campaign was the most expensive in history, with Obama and Romeny each raising and spending one billion dollars each; and this does not account for the money spent by independent Super PACS, which would bring the total spent on the 2012 race to SEVEN BILLION. To put this in perspective, compare this money to the money raised for the2004 presidential campaign (Bush v. Kerry) where each candidate spent between 200-250 million. What accounts for this massive increase in campaign spending? Is it necessary to spend billions due to inflation, increased cost of ad time, travel, advisors? Or was it so expensive because there was unlimited money available to the candidates…in “round-about-ways”? Could the past presidential/general election have turned out the same way if funds were limited as in the 2004 election? Would campaigning have been better focused on providing the electorate with real choices to gain their vote rather than a smear campaign organized by the wealthy corporate SuperPACs? Better yet, should the way money is funneled or spent be better regulated to prevent the “buying” of Congress or the president?
These are all good questions and not easily researched or understood. Trust me, scholars and legislators have been focused on campaign finance reform for decades. Yet today, we have unbelievable amounts of money flowing into the very contentious election seasons. Where does it come from? To what ends are “people” spending untold dollars? With this class, I hope to at least inform students well enough that they are critical thinkers when it comes to their involvement in American political life. I hope this assignment, if you chose to do it, will make you a very critical thinker. Here is what I want you to do:
1) Watch this documentary from Frontline “Big Sky, Big Money”: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/big-sky-big-money/
2) Read the “latest” posts underneath the film link for November 19, 2012 and April 2, 2014 only. Imagine! A news source that keeps following the story and not just focused on a 30 second sound bite. Yes, I want you to “know” something about campaign finance.
3) Write me a paper about what you learned about Super PACS and other “501(c)(4)s” and how they spend money, affect campaigns, are permitted secrecy under law, and influence the “sheeple” in America. Specifically, do you think the secrecy of the donors under the rules of the 501(c)(4) is necessary or an evil we should do away with? What did you learn about the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United and just who is the Dark Money Group. Be sure to critique what you saw/heard in the documentary. Remember, even though this is a thorough documentary, it can have a bias. Is there one? You don’t have to go “outside” for research, but if you do be sure to cite it correctly and add a bibliography.

 

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