The problem of excessive campaign financing has been with us for many decadesCampaign Finance, but has grown to staggering proportions in recent years. From record presidential campaigns, to epic congressional seat expenditures this year, unhinged campaign fundraising and expenditures are eroding the fabric of democracy more than ever.  Surprisingly, this type of purchased politics is making its way to the county and city level in Klamath. How can it be that candidates for municipal positions that pay only a stipend are now accepting many multi-thousand dollars contributions? When that kind of money finds its way into neighborhood politics, voters should be very concerned about the special interests sponsoring those candidates. One thing is for certain: that money isn’t being spent in YOUR best interest.

Expensive campaigns are a clear indication of a failing democracy. It’s no surprise that candidates that spend the most money tend win more than those who spend less, but the level of campaign financing in recent years is so shocking, it calls for a reboot.

This is another issue that the founders of this country could not have predicted and the basic language of the constitution suggests that it is not a practice they would agree with. They were concerned with freedom of the press, not with buying elections. Back then nothing remotely close to the mass media we’ve experienced in recent decades existed. For that reason alone, we need to put a lid on it.

Anyone should be allowed to run for office on equal footing by filing and providing a candidate’s statement. It would also be reasonable these days to allow a candidate to populate a neutral website platform that wasn’t dependent on substantial expenditures. Debates, yes. Endless radio, television, Google, Facebook, and newspaper ads? Absolutely not.

Dealing with this issue has been like trying to kill a bulletproof bear. There is ONE very SIMPLE remedy in front of all voters. Vote for the candidate with the smallest budget–automatically, this indicates less corruption at play.

Seems like a no-brainer. Consider that any candidate needing so much money to get elected is fundamentally flawed. If they can’t get elected on character, then they are exhibiting a character flaw by selling out to special interests. Those money interests don’t give away money without certain expectations. All people educated in business marketing are aware of how advertising works: if someone hears something over six times, they begin to believe and remember it. Doesn’t matter if it is true or not. Just as you trust someone more whom you’ve met, we support what seems familiar and we tend to vote accordingly. Even if you do your own research, studies have shown that the more impressions you are hit with, the more your opinion is swayed. Campaign mangers know how this manipulation works and laugh at how gullible you are when these basic formulas for advertising play out. Money in politics is without a doubt part of the formula to manipulate you.

Want to solve this problem and do the right thing for democracy? Just say no to special interest funding. See the money and go the other way. Vote for candidates that are doing their own work, financing their own campaigns, or only taking small donations from many individuals. REJECT candidates who take larger donations from companies and special interests. REJECT the candidates with the most money to spend on buying your vote.