As Super Tuesday draws close, U.S. presidential hopefuls in both Democratic and Republican parties are busy wooing voters with well-prepared speeches, and meanwhile, the competition for campaign funds has also continued to intensify.
Among others, Republican candidate Marco Rubio, a senator from Florida, is set to receive a 3.5-million-U.S.-dollar TV advertisement sponsorship from an outside group called Conservation Solutions PAC.
The figure of this year’s campaign expenditure has been astronomical, even as the primary election just began less than a month ago.
Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton already raised 130.4 million dollars, and her goal was set at 2.5 billion dollars. Another rival within her party, Bernie Sanders, has raised 96.3 million dollars.
Not to mention billionaire Donald Trump, who is cementing his status as a Republican front-runner. Trump is a real estate mogul with a self-proclaimed personal fortune of more than 10 billion dollars.
And there is former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is worth 37 billion dollars and is considering joining the race.
The U.S. presidential election has become a game of the rich more than ever, as the competition for political fund-raising is now a routine highlight of the election.
However, in the “money game” that occurs every four years, those who play a decisive role are not ordinary voters, but rather the minority “rich and powerful” and some consortiums.
From 2010 to 2015, nearly 60 percent of the campaign expenditures of super PACs came from a super rich group with roughly 200 people, a report from New York University said.
Organizations such as the super PACs were able to grow large partially because of the country’s loosened limit on campaign contributions, especially after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling in 2010, which allowed companies and labor unions to donate unlimited sums of money as campaign contributions.
A report from the New York Times last October said that half of the then 176 million dollars raised by presidential candidates came from 158 American families, and noted that such a degree of concentration has never been seen since the 1970s. These families had backgrounds in the industries of finance, energy and entertainment.
In addition, dark money, with the identities of the donors remaining a secret, has also complicated the already disturbing game of campaign financing.
Non-profit organizations, in particular, are not obligated to make public the details of campaign funds, leading to the rampant phenomenon of dark money in political activities.
President Barack Obama has eloquently spoken out against dark money in his State of the Union address, calling for reducing the role of money and “hidden interests” in campaigns.
As the rich class and some mysterious donors exert their power through financing the presidential campaign, and thus influence the policy making after the election, ordinary people, especially the poor, find it harder to impact government decisions with their individual votes.