To prevent influence from lobby groups, should politicians be required to finance their own campaigns?

  • No. If politicians had to completely self-finance, then only the affluent would be able to afford running for office. Our Constitution does not say “Of the Wealthy, For the Wealthy, and By the Wealthy.” It would prevent politicians who learn governance at the local level to move to state, or from state to federal.

The best way to keep lobbying out of politics would be fully or nearly-fully publicly financed elections. While it would seem expensive as a cost of government, it could potentially save government tens, even hundreds of billions of dollars a year in overpaid appropriations and tax cuts targeted to the rich at the expense of everybody else. In business speak, it would be an excellent ROI.

This would not mean that lobbyists would be gone. They would just have to use a different currency: votes. From AARP and AAA all the way to the (currently fictional) Zoloft Users of America, they could get politicians to listen to them by the strength of their voting blocs.

It’d be nice if we could shorten our election season too. The rest of the world looks at our elections, concludes we’ve used too much Viagra for erectile dysfunction because our elections last longer than four months, and shakes their collective heads in relief that they keep it to two months tops. If they get weary just looking at us, how much more wearying is it for our potential electorate that is us? The answer: a lot. If I keep talking about this I’ll start to sound like John Oliver so I will stop now.

  • Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes expressed it best – the cure to bad speech is more good speech (I think those were his exact words but my memory is a bit. What was I saying again?

The American national government was designed to pit interest group against interest group and from those clashing of interests it was believed that the best policy would emerge – Federalist 10 (Madison called them factions rather than interest groups but they are the same thing).

One cannot prevent influence from lobbying groups without freezing out the voices of the American people. What should be done is for the concerned individuals to band together and form their own interest group – or actively support an already existing interest group that mirrors their beliefs. And then let the system work as it is supposed to rather than trying to fix something that only seems broken to the uninformed.

  • We live in an age of instant communication, yet campaigns, especially for POTUS, are ever more expensive. If we wanted politicians who are beholden to “lobby groups”, divine right would rule the land again. Democrats want more influence from lobby groups, not less. If politicians were required to finance their own campaigns, only wealthy clowns would run for office and our affairs would be the private machinations of Kings and Queens.
  • I much prefer the Wisconsin model, where the governor’s political efforts are funded entirely by a pair of billionaire brothers, meaning the governor can devote himself full-time to doing what they tell him to do, instead of wasting time dialing for dollars, or listening to what the people want him to do.
    Much more time efficient

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