October 16, 2007
Campaign finance reform without limiting "speech"
Marc Ambinder issued a correction to an earlier estimate that had Democratic frontrunner Sen. Hillary Clinton edging ahead in the number of new donors, when, really, Sen. Barack Obama continues to lead in this count.
The latest? "92.5% of all 550,000 donations Obama recieved [sic] have been for less than $250.00."
This is the pure, golden intent of campaign finance reform. Special interests, wealthy individuals, and corporate lobbyists shouldn't have their freedoms curtailed; it's just that their contributions should be diluted to the proper strength. That can't happen without an organic (more or less) outpouring of support from everyday Americans. Means of forcing this dilution tend to run afoul of the principles of liberty.
Each one of those over half-million donors very likely represents one vote, maybe two (if one half of a couple wrote the check). Every single vote is critically important, but a single vote by itself doesn't pack much leverage in terms of directing how policy is made. But turn that around: a person or organization that contributes a zillion dollars is likely expecting to wield a zillion dollars' worth of influence over that official after the contribution pays off in the form of a successful election. Small donors are guided by hope; large donors and bundlers are guided, chiefly, by expectations.
The very best candidates flat-out refuse special interest money. (Obama says he has done that, and criticizes rival Hillary Clinton for accepting these donations.) Under the current system, this makes it nigh impossible for such a candidate to win. Compromise is therefore a necessity; but the ones who hold themselves closest to this ideal deserve notice and commendation.
Presidential Elections | By joe lance | 08:44 AM