This morning, the Star Ledger in New Jersey editorialized about the presidential public financing system, saying it’s a ”struggling initiative” and is “buried and left for dead.” While the 1974-version of public financing might be dead, there’s increasing support at the state and federal level to fix the presidential system and enact Clean Elections-style full public financing.
The editorial goes on to say that “people who write big checks, and more important, get others to do it likewise certainly have more influence than the rest of us.” They seem ok with that, because, well, we at least know who a lot of these donors are. Since we know Goldman Sachs gave $4,627,909 to candidates this cycle, there’s no problem.
While transparency is important, the reliance candidates have on money keeps good, qualified people from running for office and makes voters scoff at the political process and the influence these donors have. Candidates are forced to spend way too much time fundraising and not enough time talking to voters.
My favorite part, though, is this:
“If there’s a bright spot to any of this analysis, it’s that not all candidates who were outspent lost. Seven percent of those with smaller campaign treasuries managed to win.”
Seven percent is a bright spot. This number is virtually unchanged previous cycles. Now that’s struggling.