Thursday, August 6, 2009
Americans have lost faith in the political system because of the influence of big money. An elected freshman spends 20 per cent of their time trying to raise money for the next election, rather than doing their job of legislation.
The Fair Elections Now Act is currently being deliberated in both houses. In a citizen-funded "Fair Elections" system, qualified candidates who take no contributions larger than $100 can run for Congress on a blend of small donations and public funds.
The system has been tested with great success in three states: Arizona, Maine, and most recently Connecticut. Altogether, seven states have implemented Clean Elections for some of their statewide offices.
For decades, big business money fawned over Republicans. Democrats raised money from ordinary voters and labor. However, after the Democrats lost both the Presidency and the majority in the Senate in 1980, the DNC opened the way for big PAC money to waltz in. Since then, campaigns have gotten longer, more expensive and less substantive, offering fewer and fewer truly liberal candidates and pulling the center more to the right.