So what does $5.8 billion really get you?

According to an analysis released today by the Center for Responsive Politics, the 2012 elections will cost approximately $5.8 billion, a 7 percent increase from the 2008 cost of $5.4 billion.  Between the campaigns, political parties, tradition third party groups and the new ones that have sprung up in the light of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, $2.2 billion has already been poured into the race.

$5.8 billion is big.  Terrifically, terrifying big.  It will mean countless television commercials, internet ads, mailings, knocks on the door and any other way politicians can think of to try and reach undecided voters.

In fact, this number is so big that we here at the PoliticBlog do not believe it can be comprehended simply by reading the report and internalizing the facts.  So to make things easier, we are presenting a quick rundown of the colossal purchasing power of $5,800,000,000.  With that sum, in 2012 US dollars, you could also…


…buy 2,416 Bugatti Veyron Super Sports cars, the priciest street-legal production car on the market today.

…give away nearly 2 pounds of rice for every man, woman and child in Africa.

…acquire Instagram — almost 6 times over.

…purchase 145 Gulfstream G550 private jets.

…reserve the Royal Penthouse Suite in Geneva’s Hotel President Wilson — the world’s most expensive hotel room at $65,000 per night — every day for more than 244 years.

…match the 2011 GDP of the Cook Islands and Tonga combined.

buy 400 Lebron Jameses, 232 Kobe Bryants or 481 Albert Pujolses.

…pay the annual overhead for Rafalca, Mitt Romney’s Olympic dressage-competing Oldenburg mare, for 75,324 years.

acquire Under Armour (with $220 million to spare!).

…name a star after yourself, as well as naming one for 115,999,999 of your closest friends.

…purchase 25.7 billion red Solo Cups (or just buy the Solo Cup Co. 6 times).

…buy 729,559,748 Wenzels, or roughly 1 Wenzel a day for every Yale undergrad… for 379 years.


Or, of course, you could just pay down 0.000364% of the US federal deficit (as of August 2, 2012).


UPDATE (8/17): Courtesy of Politico‘s Morning Score —

BRIAN WILLIAMS took one minute out of his evening broadcast last night to note that we’ve now crossed the $500 million mark for political TV and radio spending this cycle. Trying to give perspective, the NBC news man cites UNICEF statistics to note that money could have fed 9.2 million malnourished children for 50 days, immunized 29 million children for life or provided clean water for 500 million children for 40 days. Watch:



Published by Eric Stern

Eric Stern, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is Editor-in-Chief of The Politic.

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1 Comment

  1. “…buy 400 Lebron Jameses, 232 Kobe Bryants or 481 Albert Pujolses.”

    We haven’t bought black men in this country for over 147 years.

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