How much money does it take to become president? According to some media outlets, by the end of 2016 upwards of a billion dollars will have been spent on electing a new president. All of that money will go towards trying to influence voters, but the growth of technology over the last couple of decades means that traditional ways of influencing voters are becoming less effective, and much of that money might be going to waste.
Wealth is a major qualifying factor for the presidency. Wealthy candidates or wealthy supporters can afford to fund major advertising campaigns which flood the airwaves during election season. However television ads, a costly but usually effective means of reaching voters, are slowly becoming obsolete as new technologies allow users to skip ads while watching their favorite shows.
The 2016 presidential candidates are all for embracing new technologies. Rand Paul released an app which not only allows the user to make donations, but includes a meme generator and a mini game for shooting rockets at his competitors’ campaign logos, a clever if somewhat dubious marketing scheme. And Jeb Bush is a fan of the selfie (and the free social media advertising that comes with it), offering tips at a recent event on how to get the best angle and how to make yourself look skinnier.
Living in a technological age means that unusual strategies to influence voters can be just as powerful as traditional ones, and considering the amount of money that goes into a campaign, hopefully they can be more cost-effective too.
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