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syz's avatar

What's the most effective campaign reform?

Asked by syz (35649points) June 23rd, 2011

I’ve heard rumblings that the next presidential election may be the first time that a billion dollars may be spent on election politics. In my opinion, that’s an obscene amount of money, an obscene situation, and a clear indication that we desperately need reform.

I have an idealized and completely unrealistic thought that perhaps candidates should be given a certain number of venues to get out their message (television ads, print editorials, debates, etc), paid for by the government, and that’s it. Then politics wouldn’t be a race of “who’s raised the most money”, and politicians in office wouldn’t spend half of their term fundraising. (Naive, I know.)

Do you agree that we need election reform? What do you think would be an effective plan? What about a realistic plan? Do you think we’ll ever have the political will to make it happen?

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16 Answers

CaptainHarley's avatar

What you’re suggesting would most likely be declared unconstitutional. We desperately need campaign expenditure reform, but coming up with a workable plan is difficult in the extreme. Coming up with a workable plan that would be accepted is the next best thing to impossible.

LostInParadise's avatar

Roll back the Supreme Court decision allowing corporations to contribute to political campaigns. That is going to account for a lot of the money.

WasCy's avatar


tedd's avatar

@LostInParadise Which supreme court decision? The recent one that allowed corporations to anonymously contribute to political movements?

Corporations honestly shouldn’t be able to support candidates with such obscene amounts of money (nor should their owners, like the Koch brothers). What you end up getting is candidates with tons of money, who flood the airwaves and billboards with ads that are heavily filled with propaganda and a light basis in “facts” .... which simply smothers out candidates who couldn’ t get the money to get their point acrossed.

I’m not sure how you finance it, maybe some set funding or something. Maybe a corporation or donor has to submit equal amounts to both parties?

But I do know it should be about who has the better ideas and is the better candidate, and not about who can raise the most money from companies that are looking out for their own good.

CaptainHarley's avatar


What about little Georgie Soros??

flutherother's avatar

Democracy in the United States is being stifled by big business and the special interest groups who fund political campaigns. In the United States every citizen has the right for his voice to be heard, that is what is meant by democracy, but the reality is that no one can be elected without the support of key corporations and lobby groups.

It doesn’t cost much for candidates to get their views across to the public. Instead huge sums of money are spent on fear and smear campaigns that baffle and confuse the American voter.

@syz It is never naive to want America to be as the Founding Fathers intended.
‘Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves, therefore, are its only safe depositories.’
Thomas Jefferson, Notes on the State of Virginia, Query 14, 1781

zenvelo's avatar

@CaptainHarley George Soros is an individual. As such he is responsible and answerable for his own actions. He, like all of us, has a right to speak out. So do the Koch Brothers.

Corporations are an artificial construct to allow companies to raise capital without extending the company’s liability directly to the owners. Since Society allows and grants the creation of the artificial corpus, Society has the right to impose limits and obligations on the corporation. But corporations have used their money to thwart efforts at limiting them. That use of money is why the recent Supreme Court decision was a bad one, and needs to be overturned.

jrpowell's avatar

I just wish we could get to a shorter cycle. Dealing with this shit 2 years before the election is so damn ridiculous. Hold the conventions 60 days before the election. The entire crapfest shouldn’t take longer than three months.

tedd's avatar

@CaptainHarley I was actually trying to think of his name, I had forgotten it. Either way, all of them should be restricted, they’re making it a matter of who can give who the most money.

zenvelo's avatar

@johnpowell Would you support all the primaries being held on the same day? All caucuses held on another day? Perhaps the first and second Tuesdays in May? and then no advertising before February 1 for the primary. Conventions in late August. Have the conventions at the same time so that each party must be more interesting to gain viewers.

Campaign starts Labor Day, roughly 60 days ahead of the election.

tranquilsea's avatar

I really liked Canada’s law that political parties get $2 per vote….until our current Conservative gov’t decided to scrap it.

jrpowell's avatar

@zenvelo :: I would be fine with that.

wundayatta's avatar

People keep saying that democracy is being stifled by big business and big labor and money, but is there any evidence to show this? Even if the democracy was run without anything but government money, would people feel any more empowered?

Personally, I think these complaints are made by any person who feels like they don’t have a voice, no matter what their political views are. I think that the only way to gain power is organizing. Big business has a head start because they have already built their organizations, but the “little people” can also build power by getting people organized.

Problem is that there are a million different organizations and few of them see eye to eye. Which means that we can have empowered democracy and still have gridlock.

I’d love to see evidence that the amount of money in a campaign actually buys enough votes to swing an election.

augustlan's avatar

I would completely support publicly funded campaigns with the caveat that not one single cent more could be spent by the candidates or their supporters. Equal air/newspaper/internet time for each.

Bagardbilla's avatar

My father always said that every individual should perform public service, and that it should be the last thing they do in their life, for after the end of the first term, there should be mandatory public executions of public servents (for the highest offices only)!
For regardless of whether they’re caught or not, you know they did SOMETHING wrong, and if not… Why then… They made the ultimate sacrifice for their nation! :)

ETpro's avatar

I completely agree. We should publicly finance elections and prohibuit all outside money influencing them. If that takes a constitutional amendment regarding freedom of speech, so be it.

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