$374 million is money not so well spent

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons | John Fetterman is set to become Pennsylvania’s U.S Senator, after defeating Mehmet Oz in the nation’s highest-spending Senate campaign. A total of nearly $374 million was spent in this election cycle.

Zach Petroff | Opinions Editor

Nov. 10, 2022

Other than a handful of races, the champagne has been popped and the balloons have fallen as the 2022 midterm elections draw to a close. The state of Pennsylvania is set to have John Fetterman flip the first Senate seat of the election, while Josh Shapiro won his bid for governor.

Despite our political alignment, Pennsylvanians can come together and breathe a sigh of relief, as our television and radio ads will go back to their normal programming, and our social media diet will return to its normal level of political toxicity.

And while the outcome of this election cycle may seem mundane, Pennsylvania was part of one of the most historic senate races in our country’s 245-year history.

According to Opensecrets.com, this cycle’s U.S. Senate race shattered the previous spending record from “outside groups” who ended up spending more than $240 million in both the primary and general elections.

A total of $373,934,908 was spent in total on the U.S. Senate race. The most ever in the state. It was also the most expensive Senate race in the country.

One race, and $374 million spent.

For those that have a hard time breaking down that astronomical amount, here is what $374 million can get you.

It can nearly buy you Tom Brady for a decade, as his upcoming contract with Fox Sports is $375 million for 10 years.

It can buy you 383,828 Supreme hoodies with matching fanny packs.

That amount is enough to fully fund an undergraduate degree at Duquesne University, including room and board for 5,168 students.

For $374 million, you could theoretically buy Acrisure Stadium (it cost $281 million to build) and still have enough money left over to buy everyone in the stadium (68,400 seats) an autographed Troy Polamalu jersey.

On a more serious note, according to Gov. Tom Wolf’s 22-23 executive budget, $374 million would fund the Nellie Bly Tuition Program — a program that offers scholarships to students who are pursing degrees in high-workforce needs — and have enough left over to cover the rest of the allotted budget for higher education.

Those $374 million would cover the PA Gun Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, the Behavioral Health Commission, the School Safety Grant and the allocated amount for the police departments for new equipment and for hiring and retaining officers.

And there would still be $20 million left over.

That amount of money could fundamentally change this state.

There is an irony in that these candidates spent the past year telling us what was wrong with this state, while they were funneling obscene amounts of money for their campaigns.

You have to wonder if either of these candidates were truly as passionate as they appeared in their countless commercials. Did they think of just how money is being used to promote themselves, rather than help the Commonwealth and its residents?

While it may be unfair to blame these individuals, this is a product of a political system that seems to be edging away from a republic and reshaping into an oligarchy. We, as citizens, have allowed this glutinous type of spending on our elections.

It’s hard not to feel hoodwinked by this. Elites come in, spend money, then leave in their private jets until the next election cycle.

Let’s see if that $374 million investment in one representative is worth it.

I’m betting it won’t be.