Monday, August 03, 2015

"Fewer than 400 families are responsible for almost half the money raised in the 2016 presidential campaign, . .

. . . a concentration of political donors that is unprecedented in the modern era."

In case you missed that sentence in a New York Times article by Nicholas Confessore, Sarah Cohen, and Karen Yourish, which was republished in lots of other papers including yesterdays Alaska Dispatch, you should go back and read it and the article.

This money is going to be used for marketing research and advertising to try to convince enough voters to support specific candidates, mostly Republicans.  And advertising, done well, works.

If you don't believe it, consider these 36 companies that Business Insider reported spent a billion or more dollars in 2011 on advertising.  They believe that marketing works and the fact that you know their names and use their products proves it.  Before going down to the list,  make your own list of ten companies you think will be on that list.

Really.  Stop reading.  Get a pen and paper or a blank page on your computer and write ten company names that you think spent $1 billion or more on advertising in 2011.  The list is at the bottom of this post.  

Ok, now you can keep reading. 

I'm sure you know almost all their names.  There might be a few you don't because their advertising doesn't go for their corporate name, but for products produced by companies they own.  Like Geico or Colgate.

But it's not hopeless.  Awareness of where the money is coming from helps people understand the motivation behind the advertising.  And if 400 families can raise so much money, think what 50 million families can raise, even if their net worth is 1/1000 of the net worth of the 400.  And then there are the folks at Move To Amend, who are working on a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United Supreme Court decision that made all this money channeling into elections possible.  They want
"to amend our Constitution to firmly establish that money is not speech, and that human beings, not corporations, are persons entitled to constitutional rights."

It's not hopeless.  The Jews escaped from the Pharaoh, the Soviet Union fell, colonial countries around the world gained their freedom.  In the US, our fight is relatively easy.  We have access to information, we aren't downtrodden the way other people are and have been, we generally don't get sent to prison for speaking out. 

We just have to stop being distracted by all the drivel this nearly $60 billion a year in advertising sends our way (the tv shows as well as the ads themselves), and pay more attention to what's really important:  family, friends, and keeping democracy from being dismantled.

Here's the list:
(And, also, is the list of about 65 people (mostly) who have donated $1 million or more to the 2016 campaign from the NY Times article.  Knowledge is power.) 

From Business Insider List of Companies that Spent $1 Billion or More in US on Advertising 2011
36. Apple  $1 billion
35, General Mills $1.002 billion
34. Google $1.005 billion
33. Microsoft Corp $1.033 billion
32. Sony Corp $1.041 billion
31. Capital One Financial Corp $1.043 billion
30. Viacom $1.06 billion
29. Kohl's Corp $1.12 billion
28. Honda Motor Co $1.14 billion
27. J.C. Penney $1.16 billion
26. News Corp $1.27 billion
25. Unilever $1.3 billion
24. McDonald's Corp $1.37 billion
23. Berkshire Hathaway $1.39 billion
22. Sprint Nextel Corp $1.4 billion
21. Anheuser-Busch InBev $1.42 billion
20. Macy's $1.51 billion
19. Target $1.62 billion
18. Sears $1.69 billion
17. Bank of America Corp $1.7 billion
16. Toyota Motor Corp $1.73 billion
15. Fiat (Chrysler Group) $1.770.9 billion
14. Walmart Stores $1.89 billion
13. Johnson & Johnson $1.94 billion
12. Time Warner $2.051 billion
11. Pfizer $2.072 billion
10. Walt Disney Co $2.112 billion
9. L'Oréal $2.124 billion
8. American Express Co $2.125 billion
7. Ford Motor Co $2.14 billion
6. JPMorgan Chase & Co $2.35 billion
5. AT&T $2.36 billion
4. Comcast Corp $2.47 billion
3. Verizon Communications $2.52 billion
2. General Motors Co $3.1 billion
1. Procter & Gamble Co $4.9 billion

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