Costs and Benefits of Election Costs

What was the total cost of the 2018 midterm election, and was it the most expensive U.S. congressional campaign in the history of the entire freaking world>>>????

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  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. How does the 2018 midterm election rank in the history of expensive midterm elections?

  3. What trend do you see in the data?

  4. Why do you think that is?

  5. What is one consequence of that?

  6. Is that a good thing?

  7. Which party do you think outspent the other: the Democrats or Republicans?*

  8. How familiar do you think the average American is with this data?

  9. How do you think this level of spending impacts American voter turnout?

  10. Based on the data in the charts above, make a prediction of the cost of the 2020 presidential election and the 2022 midterm election.

  11. What percent of the campaign donations came from the top 1% wealthiest Americans.*

  12. Imagine that you were opposed to money in politics. One thing you could do would be to not give money to politicians. But let’s say a politician who was opposed to money in politics was running for office against a politician who accepted tons of money from very wealthy donors. Would you give that anti-money in politics politician money so that they could beat their plutocratic opponent?

  13. Here is a claim: High levels of spending in elections show a high level of citizen interest and participation in elections, and strengthens our democracy. Respond to the claim with at least one piece of evidence from today’s class starter and one piece of information you have leaned from your study of American government and politics.

  14. Imagine that the Federal Election Commission made a rule* that limited each House and Senate candidate to spending no more than $1 per constituent. (I realize the rule would be unconstitutional, and it’s not going to happen - just humor me) How would that impact politics?

  15. Would you support that rule?

  16. What role could the Congress, Executive branch (bureaucracy), and Supreme Court play in stopping that proposal?

  17. Describe how they following would respond to the above proposed spending limit:

  • Interest Groups

  • Political Parties

  • Media

  • Congress

  • The Supreme Court

  • Tiffany Haddish

  • James Madison

  • Dr. Martin Luther King

Visual Extension*

Learning Extension of Pisa

Read the entire report and check out all the cool charts from Open Secrets and the Center for Responsive Politics.

Action Extension


Follow this step-by-step guide to calling your (well funded) congressional representative and let them know what you think about the level of money in politics and what they should do about it. Share the highlights of your conversation in class or online.

Therapy Pet Extravaganza Extension

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