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DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Retired » Retired Forums » 2016 Postmortem (Forum) » Publicly Funded Elections... » Reply #3

Response to Dustlawyer (Original post)

Tue Feb 9, 2016, 02:08 PM

3. Then I don't get why he doesn't take any public funding for his campaign now

Well, I get it: he would get federal matching funds for each dollar he raises, but it would impose spending limits on him, and he doesn't want to do that.

But if you're going to argue for public funding so vociferously, might you not think it a good idea to set an example by taking it yourself?

I'd be thrilled if we went back to taking public funding--G. W. Bush was the first to reject it, in 2000. And I was frankly sorry that Obama did, too. That train seems to have left the station because of the ease with which Internet funding is available.

Even Bernie Sanders, who has made limiting the political influence of the wealthy a central tenet of his campaign, has no intention of taking public financing. Under questioning by NBC’s Chuck Todd at a debate in New Hampshire last week, he called the program “a disaster,” adding: “Nobody can become president based on that system.”

And so, the funding mechanism devised after the Watergate scandal to prevent the unseemly spectacle of candidates for the nation’s highest office cadging funds from well-heeled special interest pleaders is “basically dead,” says Ken Mayer, a University of Wisconsin political scientist who studies public campaign finance systems.

The reason has nothing to do with altruism on the part of office-seekers, or concern about the public debt. Public financing has grown unpopular with presidential candidates because the amount of money it offers them, which is indexed to inflation, hasn’t kept up with the torrid pace of campaign giving or the ingenious ways that private donors have discovered to insert themselves into campaigns.


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