Today's Financial Times highlights the huge increase in the importance of fundraising for next year's Presidential election. The article notes the recent head of the Federal Election Commission's prediction that "the final two nominees will probably spend $1bn between them - we are going to have America's first billion-dollar president." The FT's Edward Luce writes:
"Candidates from both parties together raised more than $150m (£76m, €112m) in the first quarter of 2007, six times as much as the equivalent period in 2003 and eight times as high as 1999. By the end of this year - more than 10 months before polling day - the leading candidates will have raised at least $100m apiece."
The article then identifies some of the reasons why fundraising has exploded:
- The race for the White House is the most open since 1952 - the last time no sitting President or Vice President was in the running. This has increased the number of candidates.
- All campaigns are also beginning earlier than normal. This partly reflects the rise of the new media. Peggy Noonan has written about the old media's determination not be to be outdone by the new media's coverage of politics. The political blogosphere (with nothing else more interesting to write about) started blogging the 2008 race and the mainstream media has played catch up.
- Reason three is the new timetable for primaries. Some of America's biggest states - Texas, California, New York and Illinois - have timetabled their primaries for 5th February. This telescoping of the process means there'll be less retail politics: "Since candidates will be unable to lavish the same kind of intimate attention on so many large states as they do on voters in the early primary states of New Hampshire, South Carolina and Iowa, they will have no choice but to reach voters through broadcast media - a much costlier option."