Heal the great divide
OK, the New Hampshire first-in-the-nation primary is over. Much as I like to grip and grin with all the candidates, and look them in the eye, let’s get practical.
Will Rogers said it first, “We have the best Congress money can buy.” That goes for the presidency, too. The money is largely anonymous – who knows which corporations, or even which countries, have purchased our government. It’s time for publicly funded elections.
The price of elections doubles every four years. How could we pay for that? Easy. The U.S. used to be known for efficiency, and we need efficient elections now. So:
1. Shorten campaigns – Eight weeks, no more. Four weeks before the national election, we can have the national primary (no Iowa, FITN, Super Tuesday, etc). And four weeks before the primary, the campaigns can begin. Qualify candidates by requiring a million (minimum) online signatures from supporters.
2. No campaign advertising – No TV spots, no deep fakes, no mailers, no traveling campaign events, no begging for contributions. Campaign advertising is not bound by Truth-in-Advertising laws; it’s free speech. “I walk on water and my opponents are worthless.”
3. Grant equal time – (30 minutes?) For each candidate to step up to the podium and deliver their stump speech on national television, and then put the speeches on a national election website for any voter to reference.
4. Schedule pre-primary and pre-election debates that include all candidates. I’m not sure that moderators help.
Publicly-funded elections solves Citizens United, because ALL campaign contributions are eliminated. And wouldn’t it be great if we could eliminate political parties, too? Parties drive candidates and voters into opposing corners. We need to heal the great divide if we want to survive.
New Hampshire has history on public funding. New Hampshire PBS used to air campaign speeches for gubernatorial candidates, and U.S. Senate and House candidates, too.
Time to mend our broken electoral system.