You all are tearing up the letters to the editor page - this is terrific! After the front page, the letters to the editor page is the mostly read section of the paper, so this is the way to get the word out about Clean Elections, and the Fair Elections Now Act in the Senate. Keep reading for what Clean Elections activists are writing.
Paul Maslin's comment that money "is a statement of democracy itself" should be used in a political remake of "Miracle on 34th Street" ("Swept away by a tide of dollars," Dec. 24). He confuses plutocracy with democracy.
Too much money pollutes politics. Does anyone believe that a voter not donating money to candidates and parties has the same access to her or his elected officials as donors giving thousands of dollars at a fund-raiser?
The most important primary in the 2008 election will not be New Hampshire, Wisconsin or California but the 2007 money primary when candidates dial for dollars. Fund raising makes our presidential elections last longer than two years worth of basketball, baseball and football seasons, which saps our civic attention span and interest. Limited public campaign financing and McCain-Feingold are rearguard actions against donor-owned elections.
It's time for clean money, voter-owned elections with full public funding to candidates who raise no more than a set number of $5 contributions to qualify. Candidates who opt out will find no incentive to outspend clean-money candidates because public matching funds will kick in to level the playing field. It works in Arizona and Maine, which have experienced an increase in more contested and competitive elections.
Voter-owned elections are better for democracy.
And from Thomas Thomas in the Chicago Defender:
Winning independence was the easy part of the American Revolution. Phase two was the much more difficult task of creating a working, sustainable democracy.
Phase two is not yet finished.
Over the last three election cycles, the average cost of the ten most expensive senate races has more than doubled. Raising campaign money has become a more-than-full-time job.
These incredible costs also severely limits the ability of outsiders to enter the race. We cannot allow this to continue.
We must once again begin the task of preserving democracy. The Fair Elections Now Act would create a voluntary system through which participating candidates would receive public funds for primary and general elections.
This act alone is not enough to solve the problem. It can, however, begin the process of leveling the playing field by giving grass roots candidates a viable chance against seasoned incumbents and prolific fundraisers.
The revolutionary war phase two is an ongoing struggle. Real campaign finance reform is the next battlefront in that war.
From John Wirts in the Alameda Times Star:
BY INTRODUCING the Fair Elections Now Act, Senators Richard Durbin and Arlen Specter showed that it's about time we made our elections about voters — not big money donors.
Fair Elections would change the way Senate campaigns are financed and allow senators to spend more time focusing on the people they represent and addressing our nation's challenges, rather than on raising money.
Fair Elections levels the playing field by giving well-qualified people a chance to run for office regardless of wealth or political connections.
Grassroots candidates have a viable chance against seasoned incumbents and prolific fundraisers.
Once in office, Fair Elections candidates are free to legislate without regard to who helped pay for their campaign. They work for their constituents, not big money campaign contributors.
These are terrific -- keep it up! And use our letters to the editor tool here to write your own letter.