In humble attempt at casting this in the tradition of Socrates, a (slightly altered) quote:

"The unexamined vote is not worth casting."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Of Campaigns and Contributions

$$$ + campaign = president?

Just a quick post to really mourn over the unbelievable hand finances play in candidate viability. I remember hearing Jimmy Carter talk about elections his Carter Center oversaw in some Central American country, talking about how much fairer the system was there. How do you think the system should be? This CQ article talks about a coming bill that would 1. increase the amount of public financing dollars available to candidates (from $50 & $75 million in the primaries and general election, to $100 million for each); 2. make the dollars available with $4 for every $1 raised, opposed to the current $1 for $1 (at least that's what they say is available in the primaries, not sure about general); 3. make the money available earlier (it was only available starting the 1st of Jan. of election year, but would be moved to 6 months before the first primary date); and 4. would change something I didn't even realize was the case now, with a checkbox that is available on income tax returns which, when checked, currently provides $3 to the public financing pot; the bill would change the option to $10 to increase the amount available to candidates to the levels noted above (either way a good reminder to consider checking that box). 

Any thoughts on what else should be done? I've heard it mentioned that we should evaluate the myriad conduits available, on TV specifically, for candidates to "communicate" their messages (read: sway the voters via quick messages often lacking depth, repeated and repeated in the same or multiple ads, depending on how much MONEY is available to do so). I'm not sure of the viability of utilizing a single station that would cycle through each candidates messages equally, but why the hell not something like that? Now I've tipped my hand in terms of an idea regarding the ad-frenzy that, at the surface level, seems to make definite sense to me. I think the question of money's role in choosing the leader of our nation is a vastly important one (and this does not even get into the hole that our democratic process seems to be lying at the bottom of regarding the donation system for Congress members that is not in a little bit interpreted as a suggestion of the direction their vote or proposed bills should slant; just read about Duke Cunningham, one among many, but himself an EIGHT-term member of the House of Representatives that resigned after pleading guilty to accepting bribes; quick overview available here).

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