Campaign Finance Reform: Dollars Should not Dominate in a Democracy

One of the interesting trends in this year's Presidential campaign was the emphasis given to the amount of money each campaign had. Prior to the election, lead news stories at the beginning of each month covered how much each campaign had raised. Candidates seemed to be spending more and more time at fundraisers. In the end, the candidates in the 2012 election spent close to $2 billion. The results of the election were likely partially influenced by the candidates’ budgets and the size of their campaign “war chests.”

It would be preferable if the President were chosen solely based on his views of the issues, vision for America, and ability to lead and govern. One’s fundraising ability should not be a criterion for becoming President. I would like to offer two solutions. First, at a minimum, the campaigns should have a maximum amount which they can spend. This sum would apply to the total amount spent by both the candidates and PAC’s that support them. Second, one could create a system in which each candidate would receive the same amount of money. This money could come from the government, donations from individuals and corporations, or a combination, and it would be placed in a general fund. Once the money was raised, it would be divided equally among the candidates. While this system would certainly be an expense, it could be a great investment for the country if it led to America selecting a President based only on ideology and leadership, not fundraising ability.

It would be a positive development if the campaign finance suggestions stated above were applied to elections for Congressmen and Senators as well. In the current system, the elections for these offices are also influenced by the amount of money the candidates raise.

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© 2020 by Michael B. Abramson