Should U.S. elections be publicly funded?
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Should U.S. elections be publicly funded?

#NoMoreBigMoney
#RaiseYourOwnFunds
Join the conversation and vote below

Many insist publicly funded elections are the key to getting Big Money out of politics, but others argue the reality is more complicated. Seattle recently implemented a public financing system via a "democracy voucher program" and it already has some major problems, including candidates "allegedly engaging in fraud to qualify for vouchers" according to the Washington Post. But it can't get worse than the status quo of allowing endless dark money to pour into our elections. What do you think? 💵🗳️🇺🇸

THE VOTES ARE IN!
#NoMoreBigMoney
58.4%
#RaiseYourOwnFunds
41.6%

Ever since Citizens United allowed dark money to pour into American politics virtually unchecked, many have pushed for publicly funded elections. Juhem Navarro-Rivera and Emmanuel Caicedo argue in Demos that wealthy individuals and corporations "have an outsized influence in our political system" and campaign finance reform that provides public funding to campaigns is a healthy solution.

Programs for public financing of elections provide limited public funds to help finance the campaigns of candidates who demonstrate popular support. These programs amplify the voices of local constituents while curbing the power of big money in elections. They accomplish this by reducing participating candidates’ reliance on large individual, corporate, and out-of jurisdiction donors, while providing incentives to reach out to constituents for small contributions.

Publicly financed elections would ensure candidates diversify their donor base, spend more quality time with their constituents and not be beholden to special interests. It's an obvious solution that the U.S. should consider if we don't want to become an oligarchy. 

But others argue the reality of publicly funded campaigns is more difficult, and could actually make the presence of Big Money and corruption in politics worse. Policy analyst Eric Peterson points out in The Washington Post that publicly funded elections would mean individuals being forced to subsidize campaigns they may disagree with. Individuals should be free to support the candidates of their choosing, and candidates who have more support from individuals should get some kind of advantage in a democracy.

Municipalities that have implemented versions of publicly funded elections have already run into huge problems. Seattle became the latest city to implement a "democracy voucher program" which led to candidates engaging in fraud in order to qualify for vouchers.

We should work to root out corruption in Washington, but publicly financed campaigns could actually make the problem worse, not better.

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