The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Candidates and PACs have spent almost $20 for every second of the midterm cycle. Yes, EVERY SECOND.

Candidates for the House and Senate and the PACs that support (or oppose) them have spent about $19.47 for every second since the current election cycle began in January of 2013, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Here are the totals for the cycle, broken down for candidate committees by party and chamber, and for outside groups by type of group. (501(c)(4) groups are tax-exempt non-profits, who don't need to report donors and who are limited to certain types of political activity.) We've also figured out how much it comes to by day since January of last year, for some context, though of course the spending has increased dramatically in 2014.

It's important to note that this is only what has been reported. Certain types of spending aren't reported because they either don't need to be or because they fall into a legal gray area -- or both.

These numbers are so large that it's hard to put them into perspective. So we took the total amount spent and figured out how much was spent every second of this campaign cycle. And while you were reading the text above, this little tool here had been figuring out how much each type of campaign has spent, if they were spending their per-second average while you were otherwise distracted.

The election is in fewer than 50 days. There's much more spending to come -- perhaps as much as has already been laid out in the entire cycle up until now. So, consider the numbers ticking away up there to simply be estimates. Low-ball estimates.