America Spends More on Halloween Than Politics


As our kids fight over candy and costumes, Halloween 2019 is set to be scarily expensive. According to the National Retail Federation, total Halloween spending will exceed $8.5 billion this year, with nearly 70 percent of Americans planning to celebrate the annual sugar bonanza.

It’s just the first of many splurges this holiday season. By the end of the year, American shoppers will have spent more than $1 trillion on Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas combined. This doesn’t even take into account the untold billions spent by advertisers between October and December, as they flood the airwaves with countless product promotions.

Meanwhile, political spending during a two-year election cycle pales in comparison to the holiday splurge that defines American consumerism. Election 2016’s final price tag — the heftiest in U.S. history — was about $6.8 billion for all federal elections (and an estimated $1 billion is double-counted).

Election 2018? A new midterm record of just under $6 billion. Even in 2020, which is expected to be “the most expensive presidential race ever,” the total is unlikely to exceed $7 billion.

Despite the left’s constant fearmongering about “money in politics,” Americans are showing they care more about picking the right costume and chowing down Snickers bars than participating in the political process.

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But that doesn’t stop Bernie Sanders from pledging to “transform our political system by rejecting the influence of big corporate money.” Or consider Democratic Rep. Jason Crow of Colorado, who has introduced the End Dark Money Act, purportedly “to bring transparency to the political activity” but realistically to stymie political activity he doesn’t support.

At the same time, the left-leaning mainstream media continues to lob attacks at “right-wing dark-money juggernaut[s]” and the “shadow network[s]” of conservative donors, hoping to bully them into submission.

And yet, consumer ads flood the U.S. economy to the tune of billions of dollars, and it’s simply accepted as a way of life — as it should. After all, Americans are perfectly capable of deciding for ourselves which costume to wear or how much candy to buy, amongst near-infinite options.

However, if a group of individuals comes together and spends $100,000 on a political ad, Democrats immediately put on their outrage mask. To the left, Americans are blinded by the latest shiny political ad and too stupid to make their own political decisions.

Whether it’s peanut butter cups or politics, Americans know we have a choice: Buy or don’t. Buy that Milky Way or a Kit Kat bar, or neither. Support a political candidate’s message, or not. All of that advertising comes down to information, which we can either accept or reject. There is no gun to your head or mine, forcing a decision either way.

Regulating political speech is a “solution” in search of a problem. In truth, anti-speech activism is as antithetical to America’s democratic system as raisins on Halloween, and the free flow of information is as important to our democratic system as Skittles to my kids. That flow of information allows all of us to be truly engaged, informed citizens.

Of course, spreading information to the masses doesn’t come cheap — it requires large sums of money to even try to get your message across.

Alas, the left is haunted by the free will of the American people. Anti-speech Democrats believe we are all too foolish to think for ourselves and will vote for whoever ran the most ads.

If that were true, Hillary Clinton would be president now, having beaten out Republican nominee Jeb Bush for the White House. In fact, when faced with four of the largest political operations of all time, Americans rejected Bush, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz to select Donald Trump as their nominee, and then chose him despite Clinton’s $1 billion machine.

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The left is lying to you. The next time you see a holiday commercial, you’ll have a choice: Buy or not. The next time you see a 2020 political ad, you’ll have a similar choice: Vote for that candidate, or not.

Don’t let the left take away your choices — whether it’s candy or candidates.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Dan Backer is a veteran campaign counsel, having served more than 100 candidates and PACs, including Ready to Win. He practices law as a member of Chalmers, Adams, Backer & Kaufman LLC.