Public funding for campaigns isn’t only an issue on the presidential scale – worries are escalating that NJ’s public financing program will be bowled over by the abundance of personal funds in the gubernatorial election next year.
Jon Corzine beat Doug Forrester in 2005 54% to 43%, $43 million to $19 million. Both candidates chose not to participate in public funding, which would have limited the amount spent on the campaign. Before becoming Governor, Corzine made a small fortune as an employee of Goldman Sachs. Corzine has already indicated that he will run for re-election, and he will once again not take part in a public program, which makes sense – given the fact that for several months his approval rating has been stagnant in the 30s and disapproval ratings stagnant in the 50s, seems like buying the election will be the only way to win it.
So we have a Democratic presidential candidate and Democratic gubernatorial candidate declaring that the public financing system, which sets candidates on equal ground and centers an election around the issues as opposed to the money and the games and lies it takes to make that money, isn’t good enough for them. They’d rather play the dirty games and tricks politics is so famous for instead of running a clean, honest election – even if they’ve previously promised to take part in the public system.
On the topic, Election Law Enforcement Commission declared, “Without it, very well-qualified candidates may not be able to compete effectively against independently wealthy candidates.”
Barack Obama, who speaks of himself as an agent of change immune to politics-as-usual, will be the first modern presidential candidate to reject the public financing program. It is estimated that he could raise up to $350 million. That’s $266 million more than would be spent should he take part in the program. We won’t even go into what could be done with that money, but apparently Obama doesn’t care.
Wait a second – aren’t the Republicans supposed to be obsessed with money, and the Democrats of the ‘people?’ Hmmmm….