So the hardworking staff was catching up with its magazine backlog when we encountered this piece in the March 12th edition of Advertising Age:
Could Super PACs Actually Be Good for Democracy?
There’s been one clear bugaboo in this year’s presidential election: the super PAC. But with Super Tuesday in the rearview mirror, it’s not exactly clear that the fundraising beasts that accept unlimited individual and corporate donations and run negative ads with impunity turned out to be the scary monsters that gobbled up democracy.
In fact, in the specific case of the Republican primary battle, it could be argued that they’ve actually made the race more democratic.
Two things are certain about super PACs at this point. First, they will increase aggregate spending on political advertising to levels previously unseen. Borrell Associates estimated last week that ad spending for the 2012 elections could reach $9.8 billion, vs. $7 billion in 2008. Second, they’ll help increase the amount of negative advertising. Example: The lion’s share of spending by the pro-Mitt Romney Super PAC has been on negative advertising, mainly against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.
Yikes! And all this time we thought $4 billion was the ceiling.
See the Ad Age piece for the Good for Democracy part.