Republicans may be crowing about their victory last Tuesday, but the election's real winners weren't so much partisan as all-business: As the Washington Post reports, the bank-busting 2010 campaign pumped an estimated $4 billion into the whimpering US economy it revolved around (for a little context, Cash for Clunkers came in around $3 billion). The big winners? Your pals in the media, who raked in some $2.5 billion to subject you to that inescapable barrage of advertising.
One national broadcaster scored $41 million off the campaign—a 35% increase over 2006. Elsewhere, candidates spent some $50 million on catering and booze, $3.2 million at country clubs, and a cool half-million on campaign fuel like pizza and coffee. "It's helped everyone get back on their feet, because last year was terrible," says a media analyst. "It's a really good thing there was a big election this year." (But Brian Palmer, writing for Slate, thinks that $4 billion may not help the economy at all. Click here for his take.)