Levelling the Political Playing Field

Let’s face it, taking money out of politics in the United States, especially since the 2010 Supreme Court Decision (Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission), is akin to asking a hardcore addict to give up his or her favorite substance — it’s unlikely to be easy, if at all possible.

So, another approach might be to “re-distribute” the funds more equitably. Not a new idea — a number of European nations do this today. However, Max Frankel over at the NY Review of Books offers a thoughtful proposal with a new twist.

[div class=attrib]By Max Frankel:[end-div]

Every election year brings vivid reminders of how money distorts our politics, poisons our lawmaking, and inevitably widens the gulf between those who can afford to buy influence and the vast majority of Americans who cannot. In 2012, this gulf will become a chasm: one analysis predicts that campaign spending on presidential, congressional, and state elections may exceed $6 billion and all previous records. The Supreme Court has held that money is in effect speech, it talks; and those without big money have become progressively voiceless.

That it may cost as much as a billion dollars to run for President is scandal enough, but the multimillions it now takes to pursue or defend a seat in Congress are even more corrupting. Many of our legislators spend hours of every day begging for contributions from wealthy constituents and from the lobbyists for corporate interests. The access and influence that they routinely sell give the moneyed a seat at the tables where laws are written, to the benefit of those contributors and often to the disadvantage of the rest of us.

And why do the candidates need all that money? Because electoral success requires them to buy endless hours of expensive television time for commercials that advertise their virtues and, more often, roundly assail their opponents with often spurious claims. Of the more than a billion dollars spent on political commercials this year, probably more than half will go for attack ads.

It has long been obvious that television ads dominate electioneering in America. Most of those thirty-second ads are glib at best but much of the time they are unfair smears of the opposition. And we all know that those sordid slanders work—the more negative the better—unless they are instantly answered with equally facile and equally expensive rebuttals.

Other election expenses pale beside the ever larger TV budgets. Campaign staffs, phone and email solicitations, billboards and buttons and such could easily be financed with the small contributions of ordinary voters. But the decisive TV competitions leave politicians at the mercy of self-interested wealthy individuals, corporations, unions, and groups, now often disguised in “Super PACs” that can spend freely on any candidate so long as they are not overtly coordinating with that candidate’s campaign. Even incumbents who face no immediate threat feel a need to keep hoarding huge war chests with which to discourage potential challengers. Senator Charles Schumer of New York, for example, was easily reelected to a third term in 2010 but stands poised five years before his next run with a rapidly growing fund of $10 million.

A rational people looking for fairness in their politics would have long ago demanded that television time be made available at no cost and apportioned equally among rival candidates. But no one expects that any such arrangement is now possible. Political ads are jealously guarded as a major source of income by television stations. And what passes for news on most TV channels gives short shrift to most political campaigns except perhaps to “cover” the advertising combat.

As a political reporter and editor, I concluded long ago that efforts to limit campaign contributions and expenditures have been either disingenuous or futile. Most spending caps are too porous. In fact, they have further distorted campaigns by favoring wealthy candidates whose spending on their own behalf the Supreme Court has exempted from all limitations. And the public has overwhelmingly rejected the use of tax money to subsidize campaigning. In any case, private money that wants to buy political influence tends to behave like water running downhill: it will find a way around most obstacles. Since the court’s decision in the 2010 Citizens United case, big money is now able to find endless new paths, channeling even tax-exempt funds into political pools.

There are no easy ways to repair our entire election system. But I believe that a large degree of fairness could be restored to our campaigns if we level the TV playing field. And given the television industry’s huge stake in paid political advertising, it (and the Supreme Court) would surely resist limiting campaign ads, as many European countries do. With so much campaign cash floating around, there is only one attractive remedy I know of: double the price of political commercials so that every candidate’s purchase of TV time automatically pays for a comparable slot awarded to an opponent. The more you spend, the more your rival benefits as well. The more you attack, the more you underwrite the opponent’s responses. The desirable result would likely be that rival candidates would negotiate an arms control agreement, setting their own limits on their TV budgets and maybe even on their rhetoric.

[div class=attrib]Read the entire article here.[end-div]

[div class=attrib]Image courtesy of Alliance for a Just Society.[end-div]

120 thoughts on “Levelling the Political Playing Field”

  1. Thanks for any other fantastic article. The place else could anyone
    get that type of information in such an ideal way of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such info.

  2. I was curious if you ever thought of changing the structure of your website?
    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.

    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  3. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times
    it’s challenging to get that “perfect balance” between usability
    and appearance. I must say that you’ve done a fantastic job
    with this. In addition, the blog loads very fast for me on Firefox.
    Outstanding Blog!

  4. Yesterday, while I was at work, my cousin stole
    my iphone and tested to see if it can survive a
    40 foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation.
    My apple ipad is now broken and she has 83 views.
    I know this is entirely off topic but I had to share it with someone!

  5. Hey I am so excited I found your blog, I really found you by mistake,
    while I was searching on Yahoo for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just
    like to say thanks a lot for a remarkable post and a all
    round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time
    to read through it all at the moment but I have book-marked
    it and also added in your RSS feeds, so when I have time I
    will be back to read much more, Please do keep up the excellent work.

  6. I was wondering if you ever considered changing the
    layout of your blog? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better.
    Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images.

    Maybe you could space it out better?

  7. Whats up this is somewhat of off topic but I was wondering if blogs use
    WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.
    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding knowledge so
    I wanted to get advice from someone with experience.
    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  8. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your web site.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?
    A small number of my blog visitors have complained about my
    website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox.
    Do you have any ideas to help fix this problem?

  9. Shelf Life Of Zithromax [url=http://cial40mg.com/buy-tadalafil.php]Buy Tadalafil[/url] Nolvadex 20mg Safe Medications Online [url=http://cheap-viagra-online.via100mg.com]Cheap Viagra Online[/url] Generic 40 Mg Cialis Cheapest Prices Viagra Generic Prices [url=http://buy-cheap-levitra.buylevi.com]Buy Cheap Levitra[/url] Amoxil Schnucks Buy Doxine [url=http://cytotec.ccrpdc.com/order-cheap-cytotec.php]Order Cheap Cytotec[/url] Cialis Stripes Kaufen Viagra Kaufen Tipps [url=http://buy-kamagra-online-cheap.kamagpills.com]Buy Kamagra Online Cheap[/url] Diflucan Prescription Medication Viagra Online Without Perscription [url=http://viacheap.com]viagra[/url] Effets Cialis 10mg

  10. What i do not understood is in reality how you’re now
    not actually a lot more neatly-appreciated than you may
    be right now. You are so intelligent. You know thus considerably in relation to this matter,
    made me in my opinion consider it from a lot of
    varied angles. Its like men and women don’t seem to
    be fascinated unless it’s one thing to do with Woman gaga!
    Your individual stuffs outstanding. Always care for it
    up!

  11. Pretty great post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing
    your blog posts. In any case I will be subscribing for your rss feed and
    I hope you write again soon!

  12. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your
    site. You have some really great posts and I believe I would be a good
    asset. If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your blog
    in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send me an e-mail if interested.
    Many thanks!

  13. I’d like to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this site.
    I really hope to view the same high-grade content by you
    in the future as well. In fact, your creative writing abilities
    has inspired me to get my own website now 😉

  14. Thanks for your personal marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it, you might be a great author.
    I will be sure to bookmark your blog and will eventually come back at some point.
    I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great writing,
    have a nice holiday weekend!

  15. This design is wicked! You certainly know how to keep
    a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos,
    I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent
    job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  16. Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this
    website before but after browsing through some of the post I
    realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be bookmarking and
    checking back often!

  17. You are so cool! I don’t think I’ve read through something like this before.
    So nice to find someone with genuine thoughts on this subject matter.
    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This website is something that’s needed on the web, someone with some originality!

  18. Fascinating blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?
    A design like yours with a few simple adjustements
    would really make my blog jump out. Please let me know where you got your design. Cheers

  19. Thank you a lot for sharing this with all folks you really understand what you’re speaking
    about! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my website =).
    We may have a hyperlink change agreement between us

  20. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author for your site.
    You have some really good posts and I feel I would be a good
    asset. If you ever want to take some of the
    load off, I’d really like to write some articles for your
    blog in exchange for a link back to mine. Please blast me an e-mail if interested.
    Kudos!

  21. What’s Going down i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads.
    I hope to contribute & aid different customers like its aided me.
    Good job.

  22. Howdy very cool web site!! Guy .. Excellent .. Superb ..
    I will bookmark your web site and take the feeds additionally?

    I’m glad to search out a lot of useful info right here in the put up,
    we want work out extra techniques in this regard, thanks for sharing.

    . . . . .

  23. I’m not sure why but this website is loading extremely slow for me.

    Is anyone else having this issue or is it a issue on my
    end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still exists.

  24. It’s perfect time to make some plans for the future and it is time to be happy.
    I’ve read this post and if I could I desire to suggest you
    few interesting things or suggestions. Perhaps you
    could write next articles referring to this article.
    I wish to read even more things about it!

  25. Thanks for one’s marvelous posting! I certainly enjoyed reading it, you will
    be a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and will eventually come back from
    now on. I want to encourage you to definitely continue your great
    writing, have a nice day!

  26. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this weblog and
    I am inspired! Extremely helpful info particularly the ultimate
    phase 🙂 I take care of such info a lot.
    I used to be looking for this particular information for a very long time.
    Thanks and good luck.

  27. I’m not sure where you’re getting your information, but great topic.
    I needs to spend some time learning much more
    or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful information I was looking for this info
    for my mission.

  28. I am really enjoying the theme/design of your weblog.
    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?
    A number of my blog visitors have complained about my website not working
    correctly in Explorer but looks great in Firefox. Do you have
    any advice to help fix this issue?

  29. What’s up, this weekend is pleasant in favor of me, since this
    point in time i am reading this wonderful informative paragraph here at my residence.

  30. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I genuinely enjoyed reading
    it, you will be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and
    may come back down the road. I want to encourage you to ultimately
    continue your great work, have a nice afternoon!

  31. This design is incredible! You obviously know how to
    keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic
    job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool!

  32. Hey There. I discovered your blog the usage of msn. That is an extremely well written article.
    I’ll make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful information. Thank you for the post.

    I’ll certainly comeback.

  33. Howdy! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I really enjoy
    reading your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that go
    over the same subjects? Many thanks!

  34. Good day! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from
    an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your own blog?
    I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty
    quick. I’m thinking about creating my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any ideas or
    suggestions? With thanks

  35. Its such as you read my mind! You seem to grasp a lot approximately this, like
    you wrote the guide in it or something. I think that
    you just could do with a few % to power the message home a bit,
    however instead of that, this is excellent blog.
    A great read. I will definitely be back.

  36. You really make it seem so easy along with your presentation however I to
    find this topic to be actually one thing that I believe I
    might never understand. It seems too complex and extremely large for me.
    I am taking a look forward to your next put up, I’ll attempt to get the hang of it!

  37. First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick
    question in which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your mind before
    writing. I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my
    ideas out. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes
    are generally lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any ideas or tips?
    Cheers!

  38. I am really inspired along with your writing skills as smartly as
    with the layout on your weblog. Is that this a paid subject matter or did you modify it yourself?

    Either way stay up the excellent quality writing, it is rare to look a nice weblog like this one these days..

  39. Very great post. I just stumbled upon your weblog
    and wished to mention that I’ve truly enjoyed surfing around your weblog posts.

    After all I will be subscribing in your rss feed and I hope you write once more soon!

  40. Hello there! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering
    which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because
    I’ve had problems with hackers and I’m looking at
    alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

  41. Hello there! This is kind of off topic but I need some advice from an established blog.

    Is it very difficult to set up your own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty fast.

    I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to begin. Do you have any
    ideas or suggestions? Thank you

  42. of course like your website however you need to take a look at the spelling on several
    of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling issues and I find it very
    troublesome to inform the reality however I’ll definitely come again again.

  43. Interesting blog! Is your theme custom made or did you download it from somewhere?

    A theme like yours with a few simple tweeks would really make
    my blog stand out. Please let me know where you got your design. Bless you

  44. Wow, amazing blog structure! How long have you ever been blogging for?

    you made blogging look easy. The total look of your website
    is great, let alone the content!

  45. Have you ever thought about publishing an ebook or guest authoring on other websites?
    I have a blog based upon on the same ideas you discuss and would love
    to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would appreciate your
    work. If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  46. whoah this weblog is wonderful i love reading your
    articles. Keep up the great work! You know, many persons are
    searching round for this info, you can help them greatly.

  47. I loved as much as you will receive carried out right here.
    The sketch is attractive, your authored material stylish.

    nonetheless, you command get got an edginess over that you wish
    be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come further formerly
    again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this increase.

  48. After looking over a handful of the articles on your
    blog, I really appreciate your way of blogging. I saved as a favorite it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my website
    as well and let me know your opinion.

  49. Hello! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?

    My web site looks weird when browsing from my iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that
    might be able to resolve this problem. If you have any recommendations, please share.
    Many thanks!

  50. Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just extremely fantastic.

    I actually like what you have acquired here, certainly like what you’re saying and the way
    in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still take
    care of to keep it wise. I can not wait to read far more from you.
    This is actually a terrific site.

  51. Someone essentially assist to make significantly articles I would
    state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now?
    I amazed with the analysis you made to make this particular post amazing.
    Great process!

  52. Hello there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with
    Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to
    rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good gains.
    If you know of any please share. Cheers!

  53. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha
    plugin for my comment form? I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having problems finding one?

    Thanks a lot!

  54. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I truly enjoyed reading
    it, you happen to be a great author. I will be sure to bookmark
    your blog and definitely will come back down the road. I want to encourage
    that you continue your great work, have a nice weekend!

  55. We’re a group of volunteers and starting a new scheme
    in our community. Your web site provided us with valuable information to work on. You’ve done an impressive job and our whole community will be
    grateful to you.

  56. What’s up all, here every one is sharing these kinds of familiarity, thus it’s nice
    to read this weblog, and I used to go to see this web site daily.

  57. Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could find a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?
    Thanks a lot!

  58. Very good site you have here but I was curious if
    you knew of any user discussion forums that cover the same topics talked about
    here? I’d really love to be a part of community
    where I can get opinions from other experienced individuals that share the same interest.
    If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Many thanks!

  59. Hey! I understand this is kind of off-topic however
    I needed to ask. Does operating a well-established blog like yours
    take a massive amount work? I’m brand new to blogging but I do write in my diary everyday.
    I’d like to start a blog so I will be able to share my personal experience and thoughts
    online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips for new aspiring blog
    owners. Thankyou!

  60. Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s
    very difficult to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and
    visual appearance. I must say that you’ve done a superb
    job with this. Additionally, the blog loads super fast for me on Safari.
    Exceptional Blog!

  61. Hi there, just became alert to your blog through Google, and
    found that it’s really informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels.
    I will appreciate if you continue this in future.
    Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  62. Hello there, You have done an incredible job.
    I will certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends.
    I’m confident they will be benefited from this website.

  63. Do you mind if I quote a couple of your articles as long as I
    provide credit and sources back to your website?
    My blog is in the very same niche as yours and my visitors would genuinely benefit from a lot of
    the information you present here. Please let me know
    if this ok with you. Many thanks!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.