The political system needs to be reformed so that a candidate's amount of money is not a determinative factor in who gets elected.
The amount of money behind a candidate or candidate's fundraising ability should not be a criterion for elections.
Candidates should be chosen based on their views of the issues, vision for America, and ability to lead and govern.
Campaign money comes from various sources: the candidate, political parties, political action committees (PACs) and Super PACs (which are an outgrowth of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. 310 (2010).
The amount of donations that one can make to candidates, political parties, and PACs are capped per election cycle.
The amount of donations to Super PACs are unlimited and corporations and labor unions can contribute.
Campaign money affects a potential candidate's decision of whether to run, the operations of a campaign, and the choices a candidate makes when he/she is elected.
Many potential candidates choose not to run because they cannot raise the money or they do not want to fundraise and ask others for money.
Some individuals can afford to self-fund their campaigns but that is rare.
Campaign money determines almost everything that a campaign can do. It is the major factor in the amount and quality of campaign advertising, whether those ads are on television, radio, internet, or mailings.
It also affects the number and quality of staff hires (including those who focus on raising funds), campaign events, signage, data analytics, and outside consultants. Often, the candidate with the most money wins the election.
This trend is especially true in primaries because it is hard to match an incumbent's funds.
Campaign money can also impact decisions that candidates make when they get elected. Sometimes, the positions of donors and the electorate are different on legislation.
The official knows that a donor may not donate in the future if the official votes against the donor's preference. Because elected officials need the donations to get reelected, they often support and pass legislation which favors their financial benefactors rather than the districts or states that they represent.
The ideal solution would be a system in which each candidate would receive the same amount of money.
For this arrangement, the money could come from the government, donations from individuals and corporations, or a combination.
It would be placed in a general fund and divided equally among the candidates.
While the government money in this system would certainly be an expense, it could be a great investment for the country if it led to America selecting officials based only on ideology and leadership, not fundraising ability.
Another option would be establishing a maximum amount that candidates could spend. This sum would apply to the total amount spent by the candidates, political parties, PACs, and Super PACs.
Fundraising would still be an issue, but, in this system, a candidate's ability to outspend the opposition would be limited because he/she could not outspend the election's cap.
The implementation of either system would be challenging.
One path would be to pass a law.
Incumbents would be unlikely to vote for it, though, because the current structure benefits them in reelection campaigns (since they usually have the most campaign money).
Legal challenges would be likely.
Another option would be to adopt a constitutional amendment.
Either route would require an extensive public relations campaign and grassroots organization.
The American people, both Republicans and Democrats, would probably support changes to the campaign finance system because the electorate wants change in Washington.
Michael B. Abramson is a practicing attorney. He is also an adviser with the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. He is the host of the "Advancing the Agenda" podcast and the author of "A Playbook for Taking Back America: Lessons from the 2012 Presidential Election." Follow him on his website and Twitter, @mbabramson. Read Michael B. Abramson's Reports — More Here.
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