$3.7 billion dollars – the cost of a US midterm election

Voting box money

The Danish parliamentary-candidate for the Social Democrats, Peter Hummelgaard Thomsen, writes in Denmark’s largest newspaper, Politiken, that ”Obama has delivered both hope and change.” and continues: ”The huge amount of money (BIEN: ”spent on the midterm elections”) has had a single effect – greater and more irreconcilable polarization. And the greater polarization is the reason that President Obama is historically unpopular in the polls.”

Hope and change and blame for polarization aside, Mr Thomsen is right that the cost is staggering and enormous by any Danish standards.  The Huffington Post writes that ”the election costed $3.7 billion a sum that includes cash from individual contributors, dark money groups, party committees and political action committees”.

Considering that America has roughly 146 million registered voters it equates to $25 per voter. If we then consider the average midterm election turnout rate of 42% (2008 rate) it is about $60 per person.

It seems like if you added it all up and depending on who you ask, the Democrats’ and Republicans’ spending are probably pretty close. No matter who spends it, this election cost more than the Danish defense budget of $3.6 billion or approximately 30% more than Denmark’s foreign-aid.

Is it worth it or what is the alternative in a country like the United States which is 230x bigger than Denmark and there is 57x as many people?

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