We can be sure of two things about every election for federal offices in America. First, politicians from both parties will tell the voters that the upcoming election is the most important election in history, with the future of the country hanging in the balance. And second, the election will be the most expensive election in history . . so far.
Both things have happened in this election cycle. The Hill reports that spending on political activities in the 2022 midterm election is projected to reach a staggering $16.7 billion, obliterating the prior record, which was established in the last midterm election. As of Tuesday, spending reported to the Federal Election Commission, which tallies the numbers for the federal side of the election, is already at $7.5 billion–surpassing the paltry $7.1 billion spent in 2018–and we’ve still got days of additional ads, commercials, and events before Election Day rolls around next Tuesday.
Spending on the contests for federal offices is projected to reach $8.9 billion this year, and state elections are expected to cost an additional $7.8 billion. Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, Nevada, and Wisconsin are leading the spending boom, and congressional “super PACs” from both parties are providing a lot of the cash.
Here’s a trivia question: who did George Washington beat in the first U.S. presidential election? The answer is no one; he was unopposed and was elected unanimously. Those days are long gone. Now, we seem to have an endless appetite for “the most important election in history” and are willing to dig deeper and deeper to fund them.