The obscene cost of politics

From left, Sen. Bill Nelson, Sen. Marco Rubio
From left, Sen. Bill Nelson, Sen. Marco Rubio and Gov. Rick Scott speak to the media in Doral, Florida, in September. Republican Scott is challenging Democrat Nelson for his Senate seat this fall.

Every so often, a number pops out at you.

Last week, it was $200 million. Now, in an age in which increasing numbers of zeros and commas have desensitized us to big numbers, $200 million might not seem like much.

But this particular $200 million was the amount experts anticipate will be spent on Florida’s U.S. Senate race this fall.

One race. To elect one senator. $200 million.

Sure, control of the Senate is at stake with the chamber split nearly equally — Republicans hold a 51-49 edge. And sure, the House of Representatives is in play, too. And, yes, Florida is just about the swingiest of swing states, and the race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and GOP challenger Rick Scott, the current governor, is going to be a doozy.

But $200 million?

People who run campaigns say it might cost $3 million a week for a candidate to saturate Florida with TV advertising. But to what end? Both men have been in the public eye for a while. What about them don’t people know?

But this is where we’re at. The two major parties just spent more than $16 million on a special election for a single House seat in Pennsylvania where the winner, Democrat Conor Lamb, will serve seven months before the…

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