Money tells a tale — but not necessarily where this money actually comes from during an election cycle.

For those of us who have been battered by political ads on television, and for those of us who are drowning in mailers about who or what we should be voting for, especially when they have unusual sources: Welcome to Election 2020.

The most important story I’ve read during this election is a piece that The Colorado Sun ran a week ago, but it is quite relevant. The author is Sandra Fish, who is a whiz figuring out where this money comes from. (At the end of this piece, it notes this: This story is a part of #FollowtheMoneyCO, a project of the Colorado News Collaborative (COLab), edited by The Colorado Sun with support from the Colorado Media Project.)

Here are two important paragraphs:

“The 2020 election has driven nearly $89 million in spending on TV ads in Colorado this year, nearly three-quarters on the U.S. Senate contest between Republican incumbent Cory Gardner and Democratic former Gov. John Hickenlooper. And 56% of that Senate money comes from outside groups hoping to influence voters, a new analysis from The Colorado Sun shows.

“In addition, nearly $29 million worth of Facebook ads have targeted the state since the beginning of the year, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, which tracks the spending. Add at least another $15 million in reported outside spending on mailers, texting, canvassing and more at the state and federal level.”

These figures are just for Colorado, so it’s amazing to think how much money has been spent –or squandered — on all 50 states. 

As for the nation? NPR posted a story that started this way: “More than $1 billion has now been spent on TV ads for the 2020 presidential election in just 13 states, an NPR analysis of the latest ad spending data from the tracking firm Advertising Analytics finds.” 

Just 13 states. But if you look up Advertising Analytics, you’ll find this: “We expect to see $6.7 billion spent in the political arena during the 2020 cycle.”

Yes: $6.7 billion, which will undoubtedly grow since there are still six days before the election. This money could help our schools, our essential workers and doctors and nurses and support staff in hospitals, researchers and scientists, rents and mortgages, and on and on. This is especially true, because the markets have been dropping, including the fact that the virus is surging and many places in the United States are tightening things up again, as is Europe. (Like here.)

Finally, much as I worry about the outcome of the election on November 3, on November 4, I will be blissfully happy to have no more of political ads during news programs.  

The links below take you to The Colorado Sun story, and the story on NPR.

As a sidelight, last night Rocky Mountain PBS aired a Frontline titled “The Choice 2020: Trump vs. Biden.” The program was originally shown in September, but each PBS station can program as it wishes. Frontline has created this program with a lot of information for both men who are running for president (this series has done these programs for like 30 years). Find it on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Icu6qupf40

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