$8 Billion Was Spent on Political Ads in 2020

Teresa Bacal
3 min readJan 9, 2021

Could That Money Have Been Put to Better Use

Photo by Jp Valery on Unsplash

Over $8 billion was spent in 2020 on political ads, according to Newsweek, many of which were negative or attack ads. I don’t know about you, but I dislike those ads immensely. Every time I see one, I am disappointed that this is the best idea a highly paid group of adults can come up with for their marketing plan. It makes me wonder what impression this leaves on our younger generation.

Yeah, I know that various research shows negative ads work but so does cracking open a walnut with a sledgehammer. Just because something can be done, doesn’t mean it should be done. I find it ironic that there are massive campaigns across the United States to battle bullying in our schools yet, this is exactly what these negative political ads are all about.

The ads partake in calling opponents names, telling half-truths and talking about the worst things they can dig up on their opponent. Why don’t these campaign ads focus on the candidate’s platform or beliefs? Why don’t the ads talk about how the candidate wants to change things for the better or help their constituents?

It makes me ill to think of all the money wasted on campaign ads in general. How about building community youth centers? How about purchasing the latest technology for schools that can’t afford it? What about contributing to the food banks around the country? Maybe training centers to teach new skills that translate into getting a job or a better job? Possibly fund family counseling centers? What about helping people that lost jobs or were forced to close their small business during the pandemic? I can go on and on about the endless options of how that money could be put to good use to change lives for the better.

To put it in perspective, here is how much $8 Billion could possibly buy:

  1. Youth Centers: An average cost to build one youth center is around $1,392,000, per RSMeans data. That means about 5747 youth centers could be built for our younger generations.
  2. K-12 school donations: Based on 2017/18 data, there are approximately 130,930 K-12 schools in the United States. That means each school could have received over $61,000.
  3. Food Banks: According to Food Bank News



Teresa Bacal

Always looking for ways to Live Better | Addicted to Travel | Serial Entrepreneur | Outdoor Enthusiast | Event Consultant | www.JTGrey.com |