In short, a lot!
This year the United States, our old Colonies, will elect a new president and vice president; to be exact they will elect this new president on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016.
However, prior to this date, there has been and will be a huge run-up to the election, which began early last year. It was early in 2015 that the candidates that are running for president announced their candidacy.
Politics and elections in America are similar to here in the UK. You have different parties who elect a candidate and then in the general election voters decide on one person to become president.
Here in the UK we have the Labour Party, Conservatives, Liberal Democrats, UKIP, etc.
In the United States the main political parties are the Democrats, the Republicans, with there being other and smaller parties as well.
Just as here in the UK, each party in the states elects a leader, or the person who will run in the general election for president. In most instances in the US, the elections come down to either the Republicans or the Democrats. The smaller parties, while they may garner votes, they are not strong or large enough to get someone voted into office.
Prior to the primary elections, and the general election, candidates travel the country making speeches and promises, telling the public their views on the world, the economy, why they should be elected, put on TV adverts, have debates, and in general try to keep their name and face in the public eye, and more importantly, on the voting ballot.
During these “political campaigns”, candidates can make some outlandish remarks, not to just shock people, but also keep their names in the news. The news reports are free, and as we will see later on, running a political campaign is not a cheap venture, so keeping yourself in the news is a cheap way to get publicity.
Who Is Running For President
There are quite a few candidates running for president this year, too many to list here, but we will cover the main ones that may stand a chance of winning, and are in the public eye.
In no certain order:
* Hillary Clinton: Former US Senator and also Secretary of State. In addition she was married to former President Bill Clinton.
* Martin O’Malley: Former Governor of the state of Maryland.
* Bernie Sanders: US Senator from the state of Vermont.
* Jeb Bush: Former Governor of the state of Florida, and also the brother of George Bush a former President of the US. Jeb is also the son of another George Bush, who is a former President of the US. As is with Hillary Clinton, a lot of politics and experience in these families.
* Dr. Ben Carson: Dr. Carson is a medical doctor from Florida.
* Ted Cruz: A Senator from the state of Texas.
* Donald “The Don” Trump: Mr. Trump is a billionaire from the state of New York.
Now before someone writes in and says there are other candidates, and it appears you are in favour of one over the other, or how I have listed them, here is my disclaimer:
“I neither support, endorse or am against any of the political parties or their candidates. If one candidate here seems to get more attention or coverage, it is simply by chance. Any humour I inject in this writing is just that, jokes, not meant to cause any harm and are here only to reflect some entertainment value.”
One thing you will note from these candidates is that some have much experience in politics, and some are just business people. Anyone can run for president, if you can afford it.
What It Costs to Run a Presidential Campaign
As I mentioned at the beginning of this jaunt into American politics, it costs a lot, millions of dollars $$.
In 2012 the presidential election cost $2 billion, and this years election is expected to reach $5 billion!
That is why just because anyone can run for election, not just anyone can afford to run.
It is estimated that before a candidate can even begin the process of running for president, they will need $10 million. That’s before you even set-off.
When all is said and done, the top candidates that are really in the running, can each spend $800 million, or more.
And what is the money spent on you may ask.
Campaign Money Spent On:
TV Adverts: TV is not free or cheap, in addition, you need to produce the adverts.
Signs, Bill Boards, and Posters: You need to keep your name, and face, in the public eye.
Travel: The United States is huge, and you need to visit much of it to get people’s vote.
Day-to-Day Expenses: You need to eat, plus you still have your usual bills to pay.
Campaign Manager and Workers: You need someone to manage your campaign, and also workers. In many instances workers volunteer themselves to help a candidate with their campaign. They want to support the candidate and by volunteering they can do this.
So where does a presidential hopeful come up with $800 million??
How Candidates Get Funded
Raising over $800 million does not come overnight. In some instances these campaigns are started many years in advance. Those that are already in politics or hold an elected office, may already have some money already saved from previous campaigns.
There are a variety of ways a candidate can raise the money needed to fund a campaign.
Donations: These donations can be just asking people for money to fundraising efforts. Holding dinners and parties and charging $100 a head, or more, sometimes thousands of dollars, to raise money for the campaign.
Personal Savings: Some candidates are wealthy and can fund part of their campaign using their own money. Donald Trump kick started his campaign by using almost $2 million of his own money.
Mr. Trump was quoted as saying, “I don’t need anybody’s money,”
“I’m using my own money. I’m not using the lobbyists. I’m not using donors. I don’t care. I’m really rich.”
And yes, he is rich, but not stupid enough to not use fundraising and donations.
Mr. Trump also knows how to use the media, especially the press. Some of his outrageous remarks such as his banning muslims from entering the US, keeps him well in the public eye, as well as getting discussed and talked about. Even here in the UK where a petition was put together to ban him from the UK.
With over 500,000 signatures on the petition, it has to be debated in Parliament.
The Chairwoman of the committee to debate this Helen Jones stated, “By scheduling a debate on these petitions, the committee is not expressing a view on whether or not the government should exclude Donald Trump from the UK. As with any decision to schedule a petition for debate, it simply means that the committee has decided that the subject should be debated. A debate will allow a range of views to be expressed.”
Mr. Trump in response to this so-called ban, was that he would pull out millions of pounds of investments he had planned to make in Scotland.
The Trump organisation also stated a ban would cause a, “dangerous precedent if it restricted his travel and would alienate millions of US citizens.”
“Over the coming years, we intend to further develop Trump Turnberry and invest millions more at the site, creating sustained economic growth for South Ayrshire and Scotland.”
“Additionally, we have plans to invest £500m towards further development at the 1,400-acre Trump International Golf Links.”
“Any action to restrict travel would force The Trump Organisation to immediately end these and all future investments we are currently contemplating in the United Kingdom.”
“Westminster would create a dangerous precedent and send a terrible message to the world that the United Kingdom opposes free speech and has no interest in attracting inward investment.”
What Does it Cost Here in The UK To Run For Political Office
Running for a political office here in the UK is similar as that in the United States, with some strict variations.
Candidates can use fundraising as one method to get the cash needed to have a campaign, they can also use personal funds.
There are limits as to how much someone can donate to a candidate, and also limits as to how much a company can donate. Candidates cannot receive donations from anyone overseas.
In addition, large donations need to be publicly declared.
Some candidates running to be elected as an MP have reported spending upwards of £30,000. So while not cheap, also not the millions and millions spent in America.
One reason why it may seem to be cheaper here in the UK to run for office could be the strict advertising rules that are in place.
You can sort of see why MP’s want larger salaries, in part due to the expense of getting elected. Although with expenses being paid once you are elected, your out of pocket costs reduce.
It will be interesting to watch this presidential race in America, and also add up the costs.
,In short, a lot! This year the United States, our old Colonies, will elect a new president and vice president; to be exact they will elect this new president on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016. Howe
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