Through out the past couple of weeks I have been going through our Government blog and I have seen many posts related to Money and its effects on elections. I guess this came with good timing because after hearing about the news of Newt Gingrich suspending his campaign, I saw the connection. This specific connection interested me because it amazed me that an idea that we learned in Government class would still be present when I flipped on the TV when I got home. Although there are many reason for Newt dropping out, like staying at a steady fourth place in the poles, the primary reason is his four million dollar campaign debt. We did learn a lot about how money affects elections but I will reflect about how money affected the Newt Gingrich campaign for the Presidential race of 2012.
In class we discussed as a group whether or not we agree that money is a corrupting factor in elections currently. In my opinion, I think that candidates should be limited to the amount of money they can spend on their campaign. This is the only way to ensure that candidates are voted on because of their values and ideas rather than who has more money, which is not what being the President is about. Currently the candidate who made the most money this past year is on his way to be the Republican candidate for the upcoming election (Mitt Rommney made 41.5 million dollars last year). This shows how much of an impact money is on the outcome of an election. Also, it will prevent candidates from getting in a great amount of debt like Newt Gingrich did.
Now, to relate this concept of how money is spent in elections to Newt’s campaign. Obviously, the ideal campaign not only wins, but also manages to raise more money than they spend. However, Newt Gingrich was successful on none of these levels. On top on getting the fourth spot of the Republican Presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich has managed to be over four million dollars in debt. The chart below is taken from the website Open Secrets, and it shows that Newt’s campaign could not raise enough to keep up with how much they were spending. This is very significant because they managed to raise over twenty-two million dollars. Clearly, Newt’s campaign did not manage their money, which helps return to starting argument, that campaigns should have cap in which they can spend so unsuccessful campaigns like Newt’s do have to struggle in debt.
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate the true importance that money has on campaigns and how its can affect a great candidate like Newt Gingrich. It is also necessary to recognize that money is not the only factor the Presidential candidates have to deal with during an election, however this current event allowed for a perfect example to exemplify how money can effect a candidates chances at becoming the President.
After learning about the electoral strategy in class, I became very interested and I wanted to learn more about it. It interested me so so much primarily because I always imagined that candidates traveled the whole country, spreading his ideas and hoped that a state would vote for them on election day. I was VERY wrong. In class, as a group we participated in an activity where we divided up the states and predicted their vote in the upcoming election based on past election’s results and even the GDP and unemployment rates of the state. This exercise made me think about how if a President outsmarted another he could win because he won a crucial swing state. This idea made me feel like the electoral strategy was an unfair tool because a President should be elected because of his ideals and not how well he can campaign. However on second review, I feel that this method is available to anyone and whoever strategies the best can most certainly win.
In class we did our own mock election using 270 to Win, which helped to realize that one state can win or lose an election for a candidate. In class for our group, the swing states that were crucial for the upcoming 2012 election were Florida, Pennsylvania and Ohio. We figured that the candidate to win the majority of these states would have a clear advantage over the other. After doing extra research I came upon some statistics form the University of Central Arizona that show the swing state from the 2008 election. These stats prove our groups mock election because the candidate that won 2 out of these 3 states ended up winning the election.
The easiest way to see how the Electoral Strategy is used is to look at past elections and see how the states with the heaviest amount of votes can affect a election so greatly. In the picture above it is easy to see that states like Texas, California, Florida and New York clearly affect the election the most and explains why the Electoral Strategy is so important. This specific representation of the Electoral Strategy is taken from the 2008 election. Obama ultimately won the election outright because of his ability to take over the swing states and keep the already democratic states, which proves the true importance behind the Strategy of winning the Presidential Election.
Overall, after the learning in class and after this reflection, I have learned many things after my reflection of the Electoral strategy. One of these thing is that Presidential candadites don’t go into election day with hopes to win but they usually have a good idea who is going to win because of the Electoral Strategy. It is also very nice to know that an idea developed in class represents real life statistics from an actual election. This is very important to my knowledge of elections and that’s why it is so crucial to learn about. This will also help me follow along with the current election because if I can pinpoint the states of where I think campaigners might go to then I can match up to see if I was right. This kind of awareness is vital to people everywhere because all people are affected by the results of each election so greatly.