What is the Hyper Politicization Complex? Political Rankings was founded because of the current landscape in which America finds itself with regards to politics; a landscape that for simplicity’s sake we’ll summarize as “not good.” A landscape that needs many solutions, quickly, or there will be dire consequences. One such solution is an organization, like Political Rankings, to be a nonpartisan, comprehensive, and trustworthy source of political information for America (more on that later). At the risk of oversimplifying the extremely complex thing known as American politics, there are a number of dynamics we at Political Rankings have found at the core of why the landscape of American politics is the way that it is today. One such dynamic that will be discussed in this article we at Political Rankings are dubbing the Hyper Politicization Complex.

Overview

The Hyper Politicization Complex is a cycle that has 3 main parts: 1) the increasing amount of resources (especially money) being poured into politics year after year because the importance of controlling government is so high, 2) federal, state, and local governments constantly growing and impacting Americans’ lives at an increasing rate (especially the amount of money being spent by governments), 3) increasing number of Americans becoming more politically engaged (especially via campaign contributions). Let’s take a look at some numbers to better gauge the truth underlying the Hyper Politicization Complex.

Money Poured Into Politics

According to www.opensecrets.org, the total amount of money raised by campaigns for federal offices (Presidential, US House, US Senate) in 2007-2008 was over $3.2 billion. In 2009-2010 the number decreased 40.6% to over $1.9 billion, as is expected for midterms when there is no presidential campaign. In 2011-2012, the total amount jumped 87.8% back up to over $3.6 billion. In 2013-2014 the total amount dropped 51% back to over $1.7 billion. This was the general pattern for decades…until the 2 most recent election cycles. In 2015-2016 the total amount went up 79.1% to over $3.1 billion, but for the 2017-2018 midterms the amount raised only went down 12.6% to over $2.7 billion. The huge drop off didn’t happen this time and my prediction is that drop off won’t be a mainstay again for a long time. Want further proof? The 2019-2020 election cycle isn’t even over yet and the same total is already over $4.5 billion. Keep in mind, as big as that number sounds, it is only a fraction of a fraction of the total amount spent in American politics because in addition to the Presidential, US House, and US Senate campaigns, there are countless more campaigns for statewide offices and local offices.

Money Spent By Government

Another thing to further consider when it comes to magnitude of how much money we’re talking about is that campaign donations are only one way money can enter politics. Another way is lobbying/lobbyists, which most people typically associate with deep-pocketed corporations but nowadays even medium-sized corporations and local governments have lobbyists to make sure they have as much of a voice as possible when it comes to the spending that flows out of state capitals and Washington DC. This should be no surprise when we look at those numbers. The numbers from www.worldatlas.com show that state & local governments spent over $1.3 trillion in 2017, representing about 9% of total GDP for the United States and that the federal government spent over $658 billion in 2017, which made up about 5% of GDP. Note that spending figure from the federal government only accounts for the discretionary spending and not the mandatory spending or debt service that make up the entire federal budget of around $4 trillion for 2017. The same numbers for 2020 won’t be available until years afterward, but does anyone want to bet against my claim that the totals will be much, much higher?

All of this should not be a surprise with regards to how much government exists today; government that is funded with money of course (also debt, but that’s another long story). There are millions of people employed at countless departments, agencies, bureaus, commissions, offices, and more spread out across federal, state, and local governments. This growth in government from decades or centuries ago is not surprising given that a growing populous (330 million and counting) means a growing demand on government services. Jokes on government employee laziness or government waste aside, most manifestations of government exist to serve a purpose. Those purposes have expanded not just vertically, but also horizontally from the traditional purposes of government however and this growth is somewhat surprising. Instead of just deciding how much of your paycheck you get to keep, making sure you don’t wake up with a foreign military camping in your front yard, and fostering diplomatic relations with foreign governments, now you are also told the manner in which you can use an aerosol can, the volume of your pet in a national park, that you cannot sell onion rings that are made from diced onions, and more.

Response By Americans

The fantasy that most forms of government can be eliminated is just that: a fantasy. Government isn’t going anywhere. An increasing number of Americans are realizing this fact and the fact that they either increase their political engagement to increase the chances government does what they want or don’t and watch while government does what others want. There are near infinite forms of political engagement, from discussing politics with family, to donating to a campaign, to running for office yourself. Whatever the engagement, the goal is also to prevent government from doing the opposite of what you want, which unfortunately has become more likely nowadays as the two parties become more diametrically opposed.

Conclusion

These are the 3 main parts that make up the Hyper Politicization Complex, a core dynamic of the (not good) landscape of American politics today. This landscape needs an organization like Political Rankings to be a nonpartisan, comprehensive, trustworthy source of political information. The next article will detail another dynamic for the (not good) landscape of American politics today.

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