Mostly rational politics, with occasional rants about how a few crazy Republicans are ruining the country.
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Thursday, May 12, 2005
Publicly Financed Federal Elections
David Sirota thinks the time is right, given the DeLay lobbying scandals, for Democrats to come out strongly in favor of publicly-financed federal elections, removing once and for all (fine... reducing) the ability of lobbyists and wealthy corporations from influencing governmental policy through campaign donations.
I can't help but agree. I was amazed by reports about the recent British election - how the campaigns are run, and how much money is spent. First of all, paid advertising on tv and radio is illegal; broadcasters are required to provide a limited amount of free airtime for party infomercials (what? no 30 second soundbites? you mean people actually have to listen to full, detailed arguments about policy and values? oh the horror!)
Second, a total of approx $55m (at current FX rate) is estimated to have been spent on this year's British election. With 60m people, that's slightly less than $1 per person. The U.S., on the other hand, spent over $4bn on the 2004 cycle, or roughly $14 per person (14 times as much per person!). And if anyone thinks that extra money created a more informed debate, you're delusional.
Britain doesn't have publicly-financed elections either, but clearly their system has fewer flaws than ours. Should this be a pillar of Democratic party policy?