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Infographic: How Money Rules Elections

We all know that money influences politics, but just how much cash are we talking about?

We can talk policy until we’re blue in the face, but it’s money that wins campaigns. In fact, in 95% of House elections last year, the candidate who spent the most won.

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It’s one of a few incredibly depressing facts from Let’s Free Congress, an animated infographic by Tony Chu. He calls the topics of lobbying and campaign finance a “morbid fascination,” so much so that after reading Republic, Lost, Chu was inspired to summarize the 500-page book into a quick graphical message. His result is a visual whirlwind of facts, riffing on the trope of a single orange dot to drive his point home.


“I wanted something that was active and in your face,” Chu tells Co.Design. “I also wanted to avoid the colors that are already loaded with meaning (e.g. red, blue and green). That shade of orange felt artificial and manufactured, which hints at what big money represents.”

That feeling of constant activity was built through parallax animation (which means you actually need to test it over on Chu’s site to get the effect). No doubt, parallax is one of those tools we’ll see implemented both very well and very poorly over the next few years. In this case, it’s mostly window dressing on the information rather than a means to understand it in a new way. That said, it’s executed well enough that the animation does add a certain dramatic flare, and it keeps you scrolling through a sort of addicting mix of engagement and distractedness so that, by the end, you might just learn something.

See it here.

About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company. He started Philanthroper.com, a simple way to give back every day.

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