Campaign finance reform needed to save democracy
The Daily Press editorial ‘Chipping Away at Basic Freedoms’ from Monday, July 21, completely misses the point of campaign finance reform. As long as freedom of speech is equated to money, those with all the money will control most political campaign communication, and hence our democracy.
The problem is worse than unlimited spending by wealthy individuals of various political stripes: recent Supreme Court rulings reinforcing the fiction that corporations have the rights of individual people are resulting in an unlimited flood of corporate spending on political races. Consequently, we live, increasingly, in a plutocracy where politicians of all stripes are beholden only to the wishes of their wealthy donors, and fail to do the people’s business.
In this world, it is little wonder that in a recent poll, less than 7 percent of the public approves of Congress. The influence of corporate wealth lies at the root of the failure of Congress to address all manner of public concerns, and the solution is simple: full public financing of all political campaigns.
Far from limiting our constitutional freedoms, public financing of campaigns is a proven, constitutional solution to the problem of money in politics. Over the past decade states as diverse as Arizona, Connecticut, and Maine have created successful public financing systems, taking back democracy from corporate interests. Until our nation follows suit, there is little hope of improving our dysfunctional system. Limiting the ability of the wealthy to buy elections will not chip away at our basic freedoms; it will ensure that all have a voice in the political process.