‘Despite several attempts to regulate campaign finance, money increasingly dominates the U.S. Electoral process and is the main factor contributing to a candidates success’ Discuss (30 marks)
Despite its popularity, there is no serious evidence that campaign finance regulation has actually accomplished any of the goals set out for it by its supporters. Efforts to regulate campaign finance have been little short of disastrous. They have distorted the political process, hindered grassroots political involvement, infringed on First Amendment rights, and helped to entrench incumbents in office while doing nothing to address the allegedly corrupting influence of money in politics.
In a lengthy opinion, the Supreme Court agreed that campaign finance restrictions burdened First Amendment rights but declined to strike down the entire statute. Citing the government interest in preventing the "appearance of corruption," the Court upheld restrictions on the size of campaign contributions but struck down limits on candidate spending and independent expenditures in support of a candidate. The Court held that the provision of taxpayer funds to support campaign activity could be conditioned on a candidate's agreement to limit total campaign expenditures. It also held that Congress could require the disclosure of campaign donors' names, addresses, and amounts contributed. These changes made for the campaign financing to be assessed and kept track of much easier which gives people ease of mind and also allows the authorities to act and stop any wrong doings in the process.
One argument that supports the idea that money increasingly dominates the US electoral process and is the main factor in contributing to a candidate’s success is the permanent campaign. Candidates are announcing their candidacy earlier than ever (Hillary Clinton announced her intention to run in 2016 in March 2015) and as a result, candidates need large war chests to finance their campaigning. Furthermore, Representatives need large sums of money to campaign because of the frequency of their elections. The requirement of non-stop campaigning means candidates need large sums of money to get their message heard over other candidates. This is an argument that supports the view that money increasingly dominates the US electoral process and is the main factor in contributing to a candidate’s success because the increasing length of campaigns means candidates need large sums of money. In the UK, the 2010 election cost $75m, far less than America’s numbers which the two candidates combined can easily reach the billions. President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $30.33every second the election cycle in 2012, as a binge of campaign spending deluged voters with rallies, banners, and of course, TV ads.
A further argument that compliments the idea that money increasingly dominates the US electoral process and is the main factor in contributing to a candidate’s success is Congress’ attempts to try and limit its influence. The Bi-Partisan Campaign Reform Act 2002 set limits on campaign finance but was effectively struck down in Citizens United 2010. Congress isn’t trying to set limits on the amount of events a candidate runs but rather the expenditure limits. This suggests that money increasingly dominates the US electoral process and is the main factor in contributing to a candidate’s success because Congress trying to limit indicates its influence and dominance. In the UK, there is a strict campaign finance rule, which also compliments the idea that it is a dominant factor.
Another argument agrees that money increasingly dominates the US electoral...