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Political Opinion: Only Public Should Finance Campaigns

unclesamIn light of the Supreme Court’s recent decision to ease restrictions on corporate campaign spending, I decided to push through this post. It’s been on my mind a while, so here goes:

We should abolish private campaign contributions.

Before you get all up in arms about this, hear me out. Have you noticed a familiar theme with our politicians? They’re all very well-to-do, they’re all very well connected, and they’re all in the pockets of the special interest groups. Doesn’t matter what party they are.

This recent Supreme Court decision will only make things worse. Here’s my reasoning:

  • Special interest groups and corporations tend to have more money to spend than the average person.
  • When special interest groups and corporations give money to someone, they expect something in return. When they give money to politicians, they expect votes.
  • The votes special interest groups and corporations want are not in the interest of most Americans.
  • Campaigns simply cost too much money, and therefore require a candidate (at least at the major political levels) to have a great deal of wealth to be considered legitimate.

This is why I’m proposing to abolish private campaign contributions. Here’s how it would work and could potentially level the playing field:

  • All candidates will receive the same amount of money to campaign with. Provided they meet certain criteria to run (whatever that may be: a number of signatures, etc.), they get that amount of money from the taxpayers.
  • Networks are not only required to maintain equal coverage of all candidates (not just the two parties), but they also must offer a certain percentage of free advertising space. Political advertising must become a loss leader.
  • It destroys the concept of the two-party system, which, let’s face it, is destroying any semblance of progress. (And this is coming from a registered Democrat.) Other parties’ candidates will finally get the equal airtime they’ve deserved all these years.

Most importantly, elections become about ideas rather than money.

This public-only campaign financing option returns the focus of elections to being about what the candidates actually believe in, rather than what they can get contributions for. It would eliminate the pull deep-pocketed organizations have on today’s politicians and allow the government to actually work for the best interests of the people that give them the power.

I don’t know about you, but if the government is going to take my hard-earned money anyway for taxes, shouldn’t I get something in return? A better legislature might just go a long way toward that end.

Just a thought.

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