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Caps on Campaign Spending

Updated on November 8, 2012
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Many Americans are surely tired of the barrage of political campaign ads that they were subject to in 2012. They are not only tiresome and annoying, but undemocratic as well. It is unfortunate - to say the least - that the American public only sees ads from the Republican and Democratic parties. What about the third party candidates and parties? It is safe to say that the first and last time Americans see the names of third party candidates is on the ballot when voting, and know virtually nothing about them. It is easy to say that it is the voters responsibility to find out about other parties and their platforms, but when everyone is overwhelmed with ads from the two main parties it is difficult. Let's be honest, most people make their decisions on who to vote for from what they see on TV ads and on the mainstream media TV channels. Most do not actively seek out information on their own. Since they only see ads from the two parties, it is natural that they should vote for one of those two parties' candidates.

If this whole election process were truly democratic and not just a race between how much money special interest groups can throw at candidates to get what they want, there would be a cap on how much each party would legally be able to spend on their campaigns. Also, this amount should not be some ridiculous amount like 1 billion dollars, but something manageable and reasonable for all parties. This way the public would be able to hear from all the parties that exist and who they could choose from, and not just the two richest. It seems odd that this so-called democratic system boils down to two very rich parties with very rich friends, all of which have special interests and see the "Average American" as some sort of generic idea or term that can be tossed around without really caring about it.

There are countries that limit the amount of campaign advertizing that can be shown, and regulate when and how they can be shown. For instance there can be an official start and end date for campaigns and campaign ads to go along with the maximum amount of money that could be accepted as donations and spent by parties on ads. Perhaps then parties would have ads that actually laid out their ideas and not just "he said he said" smear campaigns that don't really tell voters anything of substance.

This may seem like a far-fetched idea to many Americans where there is still a very wild west attitude where money is king in all things, but it could work. Obviously it won't happen because the Republicans and Democrats have a stranglehold on politics and the whole state apparatus in this country, and they would not be willing to give up even the smallest slice of the pie to other parties out there. Having a choice between two parties who basically have the same ideas is not much of a choice at all. People have the illusion that their vote can "make a difference". A difference between what and what? Corporate America funds and controls both of these parties. What they say goes. Unfortunately, that does not seem like much of a democracy. In the Soviet Bloc people only had the Communist Party to choose on their ballots. Having basically two essentially identical parties to choose from is not much better. Change does not come "from the people" as many would like us to believe, but from the boardrooms of Corporate America.

Perhaps someday all parties will have an equal chance to breathe some new life into a system that has become stagnant with this current two party oligarchy. The media is also in the hands of special interest corporations. This is why no mainstream media outlet ever mentions third parties. They only exclusively talk about Republicans and Democrats, further ingraining the idea into people that they only have these two choices. After all, if we don't see them on TV they must be unimportant, right? It would be nice if the voters would be given the opportunity to make this choice, and not have it made for them in advance.

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    • frantisek78 profile image
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      frantisek78 4 years ago

      @point2make: Thanks for reading and voting. You are absolutely right. It would be good if all TV and print advertising were outlawed. Then people who actually cared enough would search out information concerning the candidates themselves, without having one sided advertising shoved down their throats by Big Money. It is obscene that the Democrats and Republicans spend this amount of money on campaigns when about 40 million people have no health insurance and 23 million are unemployed.

    • point2make profile image

      point2make 4 years ago

      If we can't stop the outrageous and obscene amounts of money this corrupt system allows how about we make a rule that would outlaw all political TV and Print advertising. It might be old fashion but without all the "advertising" people running for office would have to go to the people in person. Might make for more open and honest campaigns. Great hub....voted up.

    • frantisek78 profile image
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      frantisek78 4 years ago

      @mperrottet : Thanks for reading and voting. You are right. As long as most people remain apathetic about this issue (which they will, let's not kid ourselves), elections will always go to the highest bidder.

    • mperrottet profile image

      Margaret Perrottet 4 years ago from Pennsauken, NJ

      You are absolutely right. The amount of money spent on this last campaign was obscene. I think we need to put pressure on our officials for campaign finance reform. Voted up!

    • frantisek78 profile image
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      frantisek78 4 years ago

      @HSchneider: Thanks for reading and commenting. It's unfortunate that the Supreme Court is also basically a part of the corrupt system and has a vested interest in keeping the status quo.

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      Howard Schneider 4 years ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      I agree with you, Frantisek. Unfortunately the Supreme Court, as constituted right now, will never allow any caps. It is ridiculous and has the smell of a political fix. Hopefully this changes soon and we can have sensible campaign spending limits. Great Hub.