It’s no secret that winning in American politics requires a boatload of money.
When it’s a US presidential election, winning requires a Noah’s-Ark-load of money.
The 2012 presidential election cost a record-setting $2.3bn, according to the Center for Responsive Politics – more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of countries like Belize and Bhutan.
And now two conservative businessmen – who back primarily Republican causes and candidates – are vowing to raise nearly a billion dollars for the next presidential election before anyone’s actually declared they’re running.
Charles and David Koch laid out their intentions this week at a gathering of conservative donors saying they would pump $889m into the 2016 election cycle which amounts to about 74 per cent of all spending on the Republican side during the 2012 election.
That’s led campaign financing analysts to predict this election will smash previous records.
Darrell West from the Brookings Institution in Washington says, “We probably are looking at a $5 to 6 billion campaign overall.”
That’s right: $5-6bn. The dilemma now for Democrats, particularly former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – who is expected to run – is, “whether to fight or join billionaires”, he says.
“Money doesn’t dictate what happens in presidential campaigns,” he says.
“But money helps Republicans define problems, set the agenda, and deliver messages to the general public. In a close race, money could tilt the campaign in favour of Republicans.”