Democratic gubernatorial candidate Alex Sink's first television ad -- a small part of $4 billion worth of total campaign advertising for the 2010 election.

By Ralph De La Cruz
Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

Americans spent $1.8 billion on Halloween candy this year. And if that orgy of vapidness and empty calories doesn’t impress you, try out this testament to excess and senselessness:

Between $3 billion and $4 billion has been spent on political advertising for the midterm elections this year.

If money spent on false or misleading ads were taken out of the equation, that figure would be more like … oh … $345.62. But Advertising Age doesn’t compute it that way, so what we basically have is $4 billion worth of ad candy. Much of it empty mental calories aimed at providing sweet morsels for supporters who’ve already made up their minds.

What this election cycle has confirmed is that politics isn’t about policy or governing. It’s about personalities, dumbing-down issues and overstating talking points.

It’s become a game. No longer government by the people, for the people. But rather, entertainment by the masses, for the masses.

And if that’s where we’ve arrived as a society, well … be proud, Florida.

Because we’ve got the best show around.

Our governor’s race features a Republican who headed a company found guilty of the worst Medicare fraud in history and a Democrat who tried to sneak advice on her phone during a debate.

The U.S. Senate race features a Democrat who was asked by one of his party’s standard-bearers to drop out of the race so a Republican governor-turned-convenient-independent might be able to beat a Cuban-American Tea Party darling.

You can’t get this kind of stuff on Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Almost hate to see it end Nov. 2.

Almost.

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