The Supreme Court decisions in the McCutcheon vs. the Federal Election Commission and other cases like Citizens United left little doubt that the trend is towards less restrictions on political contributions. And whether or not you think that’s wise, it does represent a unique, historic opportunity.
People opposed to unlimited campaign contributions say that money will unduly influence the outcome of elections. They think that’s a bad thing. The people supporting unlimited spending think it’s a good thing. Well, they don’t usually come right out and say that, but you don’t support unlimited spending because deep in your heart you believe it doesn’t make a difference.
But as I said, the trend is clear: like it or not, tons of money will continue to be shoveled into political campaigns. So now what?
How about a complete rethink about the whole election process? And what if the new way forward, as a by-product, would also simplify elections and reduce taxes?
The way things work now, on one side you have candidates and the people with money that back them. On the other side, you have their goal: the office they want to win. In the middle, you have the voters. How about we just streamline the whole process and got rid of the most unpredictable element in this equation – the voters?
Sure, there might be a bit of sour grapes from the voters, but they still have their constitutional right, as always, to try and influence an election by giving money to the candidate of their choice.
Here’s how it would work: The government would simply post the soon to be available “elected” offices, much as they would any other job position. Then, on “election day,” there would be an online auction. No sense reinventing the wheel here, just use the fortuitously named “e-Bay.” The office goes to the highest bidder. What could be easier?
And – here’s the bonus – the money from the auction would go directly to the government, which could lower taxes. Talk about win-win-win!
Some parts of the process wouldn’t change much. Candidates would still have to find backers and raise money, but instead of spending on ads and robo calls and setting up PACS, the money would go directly back to the taxpayers at auction time.
It’s still a very democratic process. If you believe in a candidate, vote with your pocketbook. Put your money where your mouth is. Put up or shut up. If you’re not willing to mortgage your house and max out your credit card to support your candidate, then don’t complain if he or she doesn’t get elected. You obviously didn’t care enough, so quit your bitchin’.
If you think about it, it doesn’t change things all that much. It’s still our time honored tradition of pay to play; it’s just much more honest, obvious and easier now.
One last thing to consider: with the antiquated system we now have, occasionally a candidate who spends less than their opponent still manages to get elected. Here’s a chance to put end to that blatantly unfair scenario once and for all. We, the people, deserve to have the best damn government money can buy!