For the next week, we're likely to hear a lost of "mosts" appended to the front of the 2014 midterms. It is the most expensive midterm of all time. Also perhaps the most negative. Maybe the most amazing.
However, some context: As many people have pointed out in elections that once held the title of most important, it seems like ... every election looks pretty special while we're in the middle of it. This year might feature the most expensive midterm of all time, but that's only because every election tends to be more expensive than the one that came before it.
Not that this will stop anyone, but before you go off adjective-bedazzling the midterms, realize that plenty of people in the 19th century were amazed to learn that their elections were the most expensive ones in history. And, we're not afraid to be the first to break it here -- so will people in the 23rd century.
Anyway, carry on.
The most negative elections
- 2012: “'For as long as I’ve been in politics, 14 years, journalists call me and ask if this is the most negative election ad atmosphere I've ever seen,' says Kenneth Goldstein, president of Kantar Media CMAG, which tracks content and targeting of political advertising. 'And every year I say, Don’t be ridiculous. But this year it's true. This primary season is the most negative it's ever been.'"
- 2010: "All of these commercials feed the familiar sense that this election has been the most negative ever (topping even the most negative election ever two years ago … and two years before that). But this fall, there’s actually some truth to the sentiment."
The most historic elections
- 2014: "'This was the most historic election in the history of Milton,' Meiss said."
- 2010: “When you have the most historic election in over 60, 70 years, you would think the other party would understand that the American people have clearly repudiated the policies they’ve put forward in the last few years.”
- 2008: "I might seem self-centered for finding such local significance in one of America's most historic elections. Indeed, on one level that's precisely the point. Voters do tend to see campaigns through their own eyes and vote in their own self-interest."
The most expensive elections
- 2014: "The bottom line for this year's races is going to come down to $3.67 billion, which the Center for Responsive Politics reports is the most expensive midterm campaign ever."
- 2012: "The most expensive election in American history drew to a close this week with a price tag estimated at more than $6 billion, propelled by legal and regulatory decisions that allowed wealthy donors to pour record amounts of cash into races around the country."
- 2008: "Some $5.3 billion will be spent this year on getting candidates elected to the White House or Congress, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan group that analyzes campaign finance data. That would make it the most expensive election in history."
- 2004: "Coming on the heels of the most expensive election ever, the inauguration drew hundreds of the Republican Party's largest donors and fund-raisers to Washington. Armed with pockets full of exclusive passes and tickets, they spent days capitalizing on their contributions."
- 2000: "Five days before the most expensive election in American history, top officials of the Republican and Democratic Parties were still scrambling to raise huge sums of money today, asking some top donors for checks as large as $1 million."
- 1996: "Less than a year after the most expensive election in the nation's history, the Senate opened debate today on rewriting the country's campaign-finance laws, arguing about whether there was too much or too little money in the system now and about what kind of changes could be made without violating the First Amendment."
- 1994: "News reports indicate that GOP Senate candidate Rep. Michael Huffington has already spent in excess of $9 million to gain name recognition. That and the anticipated spending by all the other political wanna-bes could make this the most expensive election in history."
The most important elections
- 2014: "The most important election in your lifetime"
- 2012: "Everyone's saying it's the most important election of a lifetime," he told us. "In my case, it is - and I'm older than most."
- 2008: "This is the most important election of our lifetime," she said, gesturing toward her kids, "and their lifetime."