president

PictureAmerica is great for many reasons and one of those is the ability for anyone to potentially become the President of the United States. According to the Library of Congress the qualifications you need to become president (which is listed under Article II Section 1 Clause 5 of the Constitution) is that you must be a natural born citizen of the United States, a resident for 14 years, and 35 years of age or older. If these are the only qualifications to be president then why do we show favor to the candidates with the most money.

How Many Candidates Are There Really?

According to Presidential Candidates.org there were approximately 3800 total candidates that registered for the 2016 election. Sadly, if you are like most Americans you have probably only heard of the few that were affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. On Monday (September 26, 2016) the first presidential debate was held between only two presidential hopefuls but a quick search reveals that there are six candidates (backed by a political party) that are in the presidential race.

  • Hillary Clinton (Democratic Party)
  • Darrell Castle (Constitution Party)
  • Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party)
  • Chris Keniston (Veterans Party of America)
  • Jill Stein (Green Party)
  • Donald Trump (Republican Party)

Once again the above list only represents the candidates backed by a political party-there are more people still running. So why do we only hear from the two big parties…the answer of course is money.

Buying Your Way to Presidency

PictureHave you ever watched a movie where the rude but popular high school student does everything they can to win an election but eventually loses to the geek because the student body believes in the ideas that he or she has for the school. Unfortunately, the presidential elections are not like those cliché movies and television shows. In the past elections millions of dollars were spent on marketing these popular candidates and it is projected that even more money will be spent this election. Authors Amie Parnes and Kevin Cirilli wrote that roughly five billion could be spent on this presidential election-double that of the 2012 election!

According to their findings:

  • Bush spent $185 million versus Al Gore’s $120 million (2000)
  • Bush spent $367 million versus $328 million spent by John Kerry (2004)
  • Barack Obama spent $730 million versus John McCain’s $333 million (2008)
  • Barack Obama spent $1.1 billion dollars versus Mitt Romney’s $1.24 billion (2012)

As you can see (with the exception of the 2012 election) the candidate who won the election was the one that spent the most money (even if they lost the popular vote as in the year 2000 when Gore won the popular vote yet still lost the election).

So What Does This All Mean?

The above information may not seem like a big deal as the phrase goes “it’s just politics as usual”. But if you think about it, what is the overall message that we want to portray as a nation? Once again according to the constitutional [almost] anyone can become President of the United States of America (regardless of race, sex, etc which is amazing considering the time period which the Constitution was drafted); however, our reality is that the presidents that we continue to elect or even hear about are the ones that generate enough money to pay for national marketing. Maybe instead of debates and interviews we should just start choosing candidates by whomever has the biggest campaign account.

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