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Former House Speaker Thomas (Tip) ONeill once said, As it is now, there are four parts to any campaign: The candidate, the issues of the candidates, the campaign organization, and the money to run the campaign with.  Without money you can forget the other three.  (Janda, Berry, Goldman, & Hula, 2012, p. 221)

The 1974 campaign finance law provided public funds for presidential candidates who agreed to abide by overall campaign spending limits.  In 2008 Barack Obama became the first candidate since the system was established to refuse those public funds.  The presidential campaigns spent 1.3 billion dollars in 2008 a figure close to double what was spent in 2004.  In 1976 (the first publicly funded campaign) the candidates spent less than 67 million. In the 2016 Presidential race the candidates raised $1.5 billion and super PACs supporting them raised $618 million.

We tend to be extremely cynical about the role of money in political campaigns.  Its common to hear people say all politicians are crooks and you cant get anywhere politically without money.  Im not about to tell you otherwise but that kind of dismissal of politics and politicians can be very dangerous.  If you are convinced its about money and you dont have money the only conclusion is you are powerless. 

Knowledge is also power so minimally you need to be able to understand the why, the who, and the how of money in campaigns.

For this assignment you are to rely on three sources:

A. Chapter 9 in the textbook.  This material can be difficult to understand and the text puts it in a fairly approachable manner.

B. A Crash Course video on You Tube:
Political Campaigns: Crash Course Government and Politics #39
The narrator speaks VERY fast so if you are like me you will be forced to stop, pause, and rewind this 10 minute video often.

C. The web site for the Center for Responsive Politics)

To quote from the site itself:  The Center for Responsive Politics is the nation’s premier research group tracking money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy. Nonpartisan, independent and nonprofit, the organization aims to create a more educated voter, an involved citizenry and a more transparent and responsive government. In short, the Center’s mission is to:
Inform citizens about how money in politics affects their lives
Empower voters and activists by providing unbiased information
Advocate for a transparent and responsive government

Answers to questions 1-5 below are to be posted on the Make up Discussion board.  Number your answers and be sure to answer in complete sentences.  Number 5 is the most important because it is the one where you show me you do (or do not) understand this material.

Once you have read the text, watch the You Tube Video and answer the following questions based on what Craig (the commentator says).
1. Why do we need campaigns? (Answer is lengthy but Im looking for the summary presented in the first 1.04 minutes of the video.)
2. Why are campaigns so expensive? (4 reasons given in video)
3. The Supreme Court case of Buckley v. Valeo affirmed money is the equivalent of______________________.

Go to:

At that page you will find a list of the most powerful players/activities in the Washington influence industry:  Interest Groups, Lobbying, the Revolving Door, PACS, Organizations, and 527s.  Read the descriptions for all and then select one.
4. To answer this question, indicate which you selected and give a brief description of what the group or activity is about.  Be sure to select one you understand. Once you have clicked on the page for that group, read the information provided and give 3 significant facts that you got from your research.  If you have trouble understanding the information, go back into the textbook (Chapter 9) for background. 

5. And now the most important question for you to answer:  Do you believe money is corrupting American politics and can anything be done? Can we predict who will win the 2020 Presidential election based on how much money they raise?

The answer to this last question is to be based on what you have learned from the text, the video and opensecrets.  Do not put the question into Google and give me what you find. Craig in the You Tube video gives something of an answer that might help you approach this issue.  The answer is very complicated and I want to see that complexity in your response. Use the information at for the 2016 Presidential Race and the 2020 Presidential Race at

Compare Donald Trumps spending and contributions to those of Clinton and/or Sanders. Compare Donald Trumps spending and contributions to those of Biden. What patterns do you see?  Again, do not just do an online search.  I want you to work with the figures provided.  Be specific in your response.

In grading this board I will be looking at the facts you use to support your positions not the positions you take.  Use the sources provided in this assignment and be sure you cite your sources. Let me be very clear about this: Part of your grade for this assignment will be based on your ability to use the sources provided.  Even if your answer is technically correct, more weight will be given for using sources in the assignment.
Works Cited
Janda, K., Berry, J. M., Goldman, J., & Hula, K. W. (2012). The challenge of Democracy American government in Global Politics, The Essentials, 8th Edition (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth.

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