General Question

bossob's avatar

How can we reform campaign financing?

Asked by bossob (5904points) December 25th, 2012

I think that it’s outRAAAAAgeous that a hedge fund manager in NYC can write a $2 million dollar check to a congressional candidate in WA state. I propose that the only people who can contribute to a campaign are the people who can vote for that candidate. For instance, only WA state residents could contribute to the campaigns of candidates running for Senator of WA state. The same for Representative seats. Only the folks who vote in my district should be able to contribute to the candidates running for office in my district. After all, my Congressional men and women are supposed to represent my interests, not those of someone in NYC.

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17 Answers

filmfann's avatar

It is a bit distressing when you see hundreds of millions of dollars spent on an election, but what the hell? It takes money from the rich, and the big corporations, and puts it into the economy again.

marinelife's avatar

Sounds like a plan. Congress has to write new laws for campaign finance reform. (And where is the will for that?) Ever since that insane Supreme Court ruling that corporations were people, we’ve been in trouble.

hearkat's avatar

I agree that any support should only come from the constituency the candidate is seeking to represent.

I also think they should NOT be allowed to advertise, which would eliminate the need for the bulk of the money they raise. I think the journalist outlets should do their job to objectively inform the public about the candidates’ backgrounds, qualifications, and any prior political actions taken by the candidates – giving equal, unbiased coverage. As a public service, the media should also provide the interviews, debates and town-hall meetings across media outlets with full transcriptions available in print and online for people to review.

bossob's avatar

@hearcat Thanks for your first sentence. It’s exactly the message I was trying to say, but in a more concise structure that I wasn’t able to create. Can I plagiarize it?!

As for the role of journalists and media in campaigns, let the investigative journalists continue to do their thing. Beyond that, if I’m understanding you correctly, every media outlet would become a copycat of Fox News. Ugh!

woodcutter's avatar

Candidates who hail from a particular state are neck deep in the politics that govern us all so I think it is fair game for them to get help from other states. You don’t see incumbent politicians grumbling much about term limits or campaign finance because the current system is working for them, for both parties. I don’t think a representative’s constituents from a state a 1000 miles away should get there noses in my state and vice versa. Richer states would have too much power over some of the lesser states. We’re all in the same big pot.

hearkat's avatar

@bossob – feel free to use my phrasing.
I said the media should objectively inform the public of facts—not sensationalize, skew, obfuscate or ‘spin’ the information to further their corporate interests. I know that I am being an idealist, though. Today’s Press isn’t “free” – it’s just barely one step removed from advertising.

phaedryx's avatar

Does a better job of explaining than I could:

jrpowell's avatar

I would like to see the election cycle shortened. Primaries should be a few weeks and then you get a month for the general election. Six weeks for the whole disaster.

Maybe use private funding for the primaries and then use public funds for the GE. Something small like 10 million. With the internet you don’t really need to spend billions to get your message out.

It is absurd that the 2012 election costs 4.2 billion.

Jaxk's avatar

“I think that it’s outRAAAAAgeous that a hedge fund manager in NYC can write a $2 million dollar check to a congressional candidate in WA state.”

Actually he can’t. He can’t even do that for a candidate in NY.

bossob's avatar

Fair enough. How about if I change the preposition to ‘for a congressional candidate” via a bundler, PAC, SuperPAC, or 501©(4).

Jaxk's avatar

So basically, let the media decide who gets heard and what gets heard. Sounds pretty scary to me.

hearkat's avatar

@Jaxk – No. I am speaking of an idyllic situation, where the press is truly objective, as they were supposed to be. They should have to give equal coverage to candidates and only report verifiable facts, and fact-check any claims the candidates make – which is their purpose, as I see it.

woodcutter's avatar

Its up to us to fact check. You really think Fox and MSNBC factchecks on the same issue will come out the same?

hearkat's avatar

Holy $#!+!! How many times do I have to say that I am talking about an ideal, based on the purpose the press was intended to serve prior to corporatization and commercialization of everything? READ, PEOPLE!

The fact of the matter is that we the people have jobs to do in order to support ourselves and our families. I don’t have time to sit down and research every vote and quote that every candidate ever made. That is the purpose of the “free press”. Yes, I do know that they are all as corrupt as the politicians.

Therefore, I guess my point is that we can’t remove the almighty dollar from campaigning until we remove it from the press and remove the ridiculous concept that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens.

woodcutter's avatar

@hearkat You share the same problem that many others here share. And that is the logic that everything has to discussed to the vantage point of the “ideal”. As if “why can’t everyone just like the same thing?” Idealism is fun to play with if you have the time but to take it as some hopeful gospel is going to do nothing but make yourselves upset and lose faith in everything and end up on pills for your mind and so on and so on.
Reality is where it’s at, baby.

Jaxk's avatar


OK, like the Borg Collective. That’s your idyllic society. Where we all agree and have a common purpose. Not exactly my idea of utopia but at least you wouldn’t have to make up your own mind about who to vote for.

hearkat's avatar

@woodcutter and @Jaxk -
Wow. Just wow. If you actually knew me, you’d know that I am usually very impartial and don’t pick sides. I have voted for republicans and democrats and candidates from smaller parties or who were completely unaffiliated. I do not watch the news, and hardly watch any TV at all. I dislike that I can not find a fully objective source of information.

NO. I am not speaking of a Utopian society. I am not saying that everyone would like the same thing.
I am saying that the “free press” was intended to be objective and to report information. Its purpose was to be a source of facts, and it was then up to the individual to interpret the facts for themselves. The editorials were where opinions were supposed to be given. The system is broken because profit trumps all, and sensationalism sells. The free press is a prisoner to the dollar.

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