There are few topics as hotly debated as the issue of money in politics.
The news media decry its impact. Liberal legal scholars continue to gnash their collective teeth over Citizens United. Candidates dread the inevitable donor calls, speaking events and finance committee meetings they have to attend.
But whether or not you think there’s too much money in politics today, the fact remains that raising (and spending) significant resources is vital to a campaign’s success.
Political consultants and campaign professionals break out in hives and convulsions when their candidate tells them they want to run a “grassroots” campaign.
Why? Because 1) “grassroots campaign” is code for “I don’t want to raise money,” 2) modern campaigns are expensive and 3) the candidate that raises the most money (almost) always wins.
According to The Center For Responsive Politics, the candidates with the most cash in their coffers win 80% of US Senate races and a whopping 90% of US House races. Those are numbers you just can’t ignore.
Can Mr. Smith still get to Washington? Sure, but he better have some loyal investors.
So, just how much money is there in modern American politics? We put together the infographic below to give you a brief overview of just how much our nation’s politics cost.
Regardless of how you feel about the influence of money in politics, these numbers may shock you.