I find the amount in France obscene already even though all political ads are forbidden (TV, radio, posters, billboards, print media, etc.).
For the presidential race, the ceiling is 16.85 million euros per candidate for the first round and 22.50 million euros for the run-off.
Candidates who overspend can be obliged to pay huge fines and face the possibility of having their ballots invalidated. This happens in the legislative elections all the time, where of course the spending is much lower: 38,000€ per candidate + 0.15€ per inhabitant in the district. 47.5% of the amount can be refunded by the government if they get enough votes.
(Naturally, there are ways to fudge the accounts and ex-president Sarkozy is in hot water at the moment for a campaign investigation from 2007.)
What's especially disconcerting to me on the part of all parties, is the amount of time spent by volunteers, who go unpaid, hitting the pavement, knocking on doors, doing the phones...the same people who President Obama thanked so graciously, do they see any money ? No..... It's greed at it's most perverse form....
There is a clue in the word "volunteer"; but granted, what sounds roughly like $10,000 per voter is way off the scale. But I suppose someone would scream "free speech" if anyone tried to impose expenditure limits (FWIW, for our last general election, the limits were about £19 million for central party expenditure in the year before the election, and around £30000 for each constituency candidate - say, less than £0.50 per voter - in the four to five months running up to the election: plus there are limits on donations and on who may donate).
The money bothers me less than the time used by incumbents in campaigning. Obviously I voted for the incumbent in this election & I understand that the only way in our current system that he could have been re-elected was by campaigning, but sheesh. Any time he was on the campaign trail was time not completely given over to his real job.
That said, I donated to the president's campaign because I so badly wanted him to win. If I lived in the US, I would have volunteered my lazy butt off to get him elected.
The fact remains that with enough money a candidate can reach more people with more sophisticated and relentless messages. We'd like to think that people make up their own minds, but the evidence is against that. Figure it -- right up to election day in the US, there were people claiming "undecided". What -- the candidates were so similar that they couldn't decide between them? More likely the "undecided" are so uninformed and wishy-washy & probably just plain stupid that they could in fact be swayed by advertising.
Bottom line is that elections can be in effect bought by enough money & advertising. Or perhaps I just believe that because there is no other explanation for people with enough IQ to tie their shoes voting for the right-wing psychos overrunning the US.
Or, you could have a schizophrenic relationship with metric, like we do in Canada. Litres of gas, kilometres of road, milk sold in litres, but produce/meat is sold in a weird combination of metric/imperial. 2 pounds of apples, please, 100 grams of prosciutto. Drives my husband crazy.
We buy our 2x4's by the foot. (Though they aren't actually 2" x 4". More like 1.5" x 3.5". Why's that?) We buy soft drinks in 2 liter bottles, but otherwise everything's based on some ancient king's thumb width or something. Sometimes liquid medicine is prescribed in ml, and sometimes in tsp, creating opportunities for med errors by distracted or semi-literate parents. Then there's the tsp vs tbsp thing.
When the Carter (?) administration tried to push metric, they had students converting 2.54 cm x whatever = how many inches? or if you weigh 119 pounds, how many kg? What's 84 degrees F in C? Instead of just saying here's a meter stick; start using it, because you'll like it.
Ha, funny about dozens. I never heard that was zodiac related.
I cannot ever begin to think of a time when I found American elections funny. Even way back in the late sixties or seventies I remember my father, a yellow dog democrat, repeatedly saying, "If so and so gets elected, we're moving to Australia."
Kerouac, I have amendment rights I don't even know what to do with.
Well, if you ever hear anybody spewing the usual crap about 2nd amendment rights, you should tell them that you hope that they are at least enforcing their 3rd amendment rights, which are much more important. Then just sit back and see if they know what you are talking about it.