November 6, 2012

2012 Isn’t Close to Being the Most Expensive Election Ever

Every four years we bemoan record campaign spending and every four years we are wrong. For all the fistfuls of dollars super PACs have thrown into this post-Citizens United election, the reality is the 2012 campaign isn’t even in the same vicinity of the most expensive ever.
That would be the campaign of 1896, by almost a factor of five. The chart below, courtesy of Dave Gilson of Mother Jones and Seth Masket, puts our campaign finance system in historical perspective. It looks at presidential spending as a share of GDP, rather than in nominal dollars, over the past century and a half. There was remarkably more campaign spending in 1896 than in the next four priciest elections combined.
Read more. [Images: Dave Gilson, Seth Masket]

  1. gazetaoriental reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    About Atlantic Magazine:
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    Get it right, people…
  17. rachel-indecol reblogged this from theatlantic and added:
    Alright, I take back my statement in my previous post about presidential campaign spending!
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