Months of labor and billions of dollars behind Election Day 2014
Elections are getting bigger, louder, and more expensive. That’s a widely acknowledged fact when it comes to the presidential election cycle, but it even holds true for midterms. Compared to 2010, 2006, and so on down the line, this year’s campaign season was a time, money and energy suck of record-breaking proportions.
The 2014 congressional races alone cost a total of $3.67 billion according to the Center for Responsive Politics, including the $480 million that outside groups spent on particular races. And political actors are already bracing for a prolonged runoff and recount period following election day; the composition of the Senate (and the party affiliation of its majority leader) might not be a settled issue until the end of the year, or beyond.
All that cash and hard work doesn’t seem to have significantly altered the balanced of power between the two major parties. As in most prior midterm elections, the party of the sitting president is expected to do relatively poorly and the main opposition party is expected to do relatively well. Republicans will most likely gain seats in the House, and stand a decent shot of seizing control in the Senate.
So barring any major upsets, what become of this year’s blood, sweat, tears, and FEC filings? Mainly, they helped to fuel that breed of enormous spectacle which seems unique to American politics. The above photos offer a vivid showcase for that spectacle in its final days, as some of America’s most powerful political operatives raced ahead to the big climax on Election Day. Click through the above slideshow to relive the year’s bombast, tempestuousness, petty squabbles and soaring rhetoric.
And then brace yourself for 2016.