T Nation

Citizen Funded Elections


Let's play nice, this is as nonpartisan of an issue as it gets. What are peoples' thoughts? Any got any better ideas to reform campaign financing?


A good place to start would be when corporations make contributions to more than one political party they lose the ability to deduct the contribution off of their taxes. This would raise the cost for big corporations to hedge their bets by contributing to both the Democrats and Republicans.

That practice has created our present status quo where those two parties have a monopoly on power because third parties can't raise similar amounts of money. This would help to level the playing field so third parties would have a better chance of competing. I say give that a try and see how it works.


the key word here is citizen action. Any change that benefits the average citizen must be done by the citizens themself. A old saying in the labor movement hits the nail: "you have to take your right". the message of this saying is that average people must bring about the change themself, they can not excpect the economic and political elite to do it for them because the elite`s interrests is not the same as the average citizen. Ok thats fine and dandy, and I guess obvius. But real question is: How should this be done and have much of a change is needed to bring about a system that benefits the average citizen?

So know we have to questions: what kind of change and how to make the change reality.

Lets start with what kind of change is needed. First we must be able to see the the obvius and that is: in a society where you have different social groups( upper, lower and middleclass ) you will have different interrests. This are whats creates politics. politics= conflict of interrests. Congress and the senate or the parliament are the battleground where this conflicts are thougt peacefully and legally. revolution and coups are the unlegal and violent forms of politics, but the goal is the same: to create policy that benefits a socialgroup. And further on, when one of this socialgroups controls much of the economic life its obvius that they also have the means( money) to control the political life.
I would say that there are two types of change we can choose: shallow and radical( lat. to the root ). We can either choose to regulate the elite so theire political influence will be reduced. this will be the shallow way. If we choose the radical way, we would go to the root of the problem and that is to abolish the classsociety and create a classless society. Both ways will make it better, but the first will not make the problem go away, because aslongs as there is an economical elite, they will allways find a way to gain power over the political life. The problem with the radical way offcourse is that its hard to accomplish and will probably take generations before a society of that nature is a reality. Second the elite will probably react and they will most likely protect theire privilegiums with any means they can think( even violence ), so a civilwar beetwen the classes are likely if we go down the radical road.

How to bring about change?
Lets say we pick the shallow way.
first as has been allready said: a large prosent of the masses must wake up and work for change.
But what specific should the people do? If we look at history, people have organized different organisations to fight for theire interrests, everything from partys, unions and other grasroot movements. The old labour partys and labor unions of northern europa where actually able to create new policy that benefitted the average citizen and peole today still benefits from this policy. Offcourse this partys are offcoure in the pockets of the upperclass and theire top members are part of the elite today, but thats the nature of politics: power corrupts. All movements that gain power will end corrupt.
The thing we can learn from this movements are this: An average citizen are alone weak, but if a large prosent of the average folks organized a party, union or something similar they suddenly gain strenght and are able to influence society in theire interrest. In simple words: " togheter we stand, divided we fall". So its key to understand that an individualist approach dont work for the small man.
The final question is: what kind of organisation will do the trick? a party, a new labor union or a different kind of organisation. Well my bet is that you should spread the risk or in other words: bet on all horses.

rant over.

sorry for the long post, but this really hit my political nerve.

ps. a lot of words can be misspelled, you are warned.


I think it was excellent , The problem is it would require a society that would due diligence on candidates and quit listening to the respective parties . I also think the tax payer funding primary elections is unconstitutional . but thanks good stuff