Campaign Finance Reform and Dancing Cigarettes

12 11 2012

America

Keep the following old TV commercial in mind.

The Citizens United decision was correct from a legal standpoint, but it’s also bad policy.  That point will sorta get lost in the coming weeks, because all the 527 and Super PAC money didn’t change the balance of power on the Federal level at all.

I think we can have genuine campaign finance reform without having to alter Citizens United.

The big money pit for political candidates is television advertising.  Therefore, use the FCC’s power to regulate advertising, the same power they use to prohibit cigarette advertising, to prohibit political advertising and media buys from the treasuries of candidates themselves, and also prohibit political advertising from outside interests that mentions the names of political candidates or projects their pictures, likenesses or visages.  Outside interests can still run issue ads, as long as they don’t name or allude to political candidates.

If the politicians still want to do video ads, they can battle it out on YouTube.  Of course, this would mean a nominal Federal subsidy to Google, with the imprimatur that candidates’ or outside interests’ YT channels not be censored, i.e. incorporating the First Amendment onto Google.

Radio advertising, as it is much cheaper, can still be allowed as it currently exists now.

After that, the FCC should re-enact a limited Fairness Doctrine so that Republicans whom the left-wing media do dirt can respond in kind.

Once you’ve done all that, you can enact universal public financing for candidates, far cheaper than otherwise, and the public financing should come with the strings of significantly shortening the Presidential campaign season:  No official campaign declarations before October 1 of the year before the Presidential election, no intra-party debates before November 1 of the year before the election, and no delegate-apportionment primaries or caucuses before February 1 of the election year, and all parties must appropriate delegates to candidates proportionally to the state results, i.e. no “winner take all.”

All of this combined would make it harder for the Republican Party on the Presidential level to be a “my turn” party, i.e. it would increase the chances of something that happens fairly often on the Democrat side, someone coming out of nowhere to win the nomination.

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