Don’t act surprised by the influence of money in politics


Noah Wilbur | Opinions Editor

As Joe Biden and Donald Trump begin the final stretch of the 2020 presidential election, every American is quite familiar with the countless political ads appearing while scrolling through Facebook, watching the NBA Playoffs or even listening to a local radio station.

These commercials and promotions are forms of campaign advertising; which is, broadly speaking, the use of media to convey political messages with the purpose of influencing voters and ultimately gaining more votes.

In recent years, it has become evident that an effective advertising strategy – coupled with the latest technology – holds the power to dictate an election as candidates with the superior approach can more quickly circulate their messages to larger target audiences, while simultaneously building name recognition among voters.

Developing genuine connections with supporters, communicating with voters virtually through social media and utilizing data analytics to create personalized advertisements are a few of the advantages gained from carefully constructed ad campaigns.

As a result, candidates implementing comprehensive and advanced campaign advertising – no matter how unfit and incapable of representing the nation – maintain a greater likelihood of defeating those who dedicate more time toward traditional methods of campaigning.

For example, an incredibly unqualified New Yorker can win a presidential election by convincing hundreds of thousands to throw on MAGA hats and pledge unmovable support.

Alternatively, a former Vice President – who most believe to have limited mental capacity – can sit comfortably at the top of the polls with 53 days remaining until November 3rd.

What originated as door-to-door canvassing in towns across America, has evolved into a relentless battle between two opposing forces exchanging “punches” via tweets and Facebook posts, while unconsciously spending millions of dollars on ads to achieve a competitive advantage.

The sheer magnitude of funds exhausted while campaigning for any office is an excellent indicator of the critical role that advertising plays in winning an election. In fact, a recent forecast by WPP plc discovered that political ad spending will reach $9.9 billion in the 2020 election cycle – a new record for the history books.

In the current presidential election alone, spending on digital advertising is predicted to surpass $1 billion – another record amount.

With the unprecedented surge of campaign expenditures in the past two decades, an observable trend has taken shape: the majority of better-financed candidates have historically emerged victorious.

This trend is unsurprising as it can be inferred that the candidates with more available funds are certainly spending more on campaign advertising and, as a result, gaining a competitive edge.

The main point I am alluding to is that money significantly influences the outcome of congressional, presidential, and even local elections in today’s society.

However, in my opinion, the enormous amount of monetary resources depleted from campaign advertising is not necessarily disgraceful; on the contrary, I believe this approach to be the most powerful for constructively engaging with a wide range of voters, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nevertheless, this is only the case if candidates refrain from sharing erroneous and deceitful political propaganda with the sole purpose of degrading their opponent and poaching his or her supporters.

With both Joe Biden and Donald Trump recently intensifying efforts to acquire more funding, we can reasonably predict the next president of the U.S. to be the candidate that outspends the other.