In response to sam k's comment to this post
, I looked up the amount of money raised by the various Democratic Primary candidates from 2004 to see how this election cycle is stacking up. CNN made a handy graphic
comparing the amounts of the various candidates for the whole primary season. Adding them together we get approximately $195 million.
This time around, the candidates have already netted over $75 million
- and if the rumors about Obama's numbers prove true, then it could be over $100 million. In this post
Chris Bowers calls the $77 million a "startling number," and he's quite right. As sam k noted, the primaries are getting earlier, with some states apparently holding theirs last Tuesday in order to be the first out of the block. So candidates need serious money earlier than before.
But that doesn't really explain this level of fundraising success. What we're really seeing is a nation that is desperate to rid itself of George Bush. The press could cover quite a few other stories - sharks, earthquakes, missing white women. These of course get coverage, but front and center is the 2008 race, which shows their fixation and desire to get this portion of our history behind us.
The fact that the American public cares at all who is running, even to the point of showing up by the thousands for rallies - especially for Barack Obama, reveals this desire. We're ready to move on, and to help us cope with our present reality, we focus upon those who will, in some way at least, lead us out of the George Bush era.
Speaking of Obama, the reason he's attracting so many people is not because he's a "rock star." That's entirely the wrong image for our current political environment. Americans are looking for a Messiah to lead them out of the wilderness (to mix biblical metaphors), and Obama is the one who has the inspirational message and charisma to fit that role. I've no clue what that means for his electoral chances, though. Messiahs tend to flame out one way or another.