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Getting Money out of Politics

“Getting money out of politics” is a bit cliché and that phrase stems from a lack of full understanding of the nature of our political system and the root causes of its problems. In the US, the power of the dollar is stronger than the power of the vote. Directly decreasing the power of the dollar is effectively insurmountable right now, but we can increase the power of the vote. That’s what voting method reform is all about. Voting method reform is viable because it’s a bottom-up solution that takes advantage of the diversity and decentralization of American government. It's the classic method for driving change in the US, similar to marriage equality and marijuana legalization.

To be clear, I support reforms that reduce the power of the dollar in politics such as overturning Citizens United, publicly financed campaigns, limited campaign windows, contribution and spending limits, and airtime fairness rules. However, one of the problems of reducing the barriers to running for office can be a greater number of quality candidates running which leads to more vote splitting among those popular candidates, ultimately helping polarizing candidates to win even more often. Without a voting method that eliminates vote splitting like STAR Voting or Approval Voting, some public campaign finance reforms can backfire.

At the end of the day, the point I’m making is that the old guard doesn’t want the system that’s keeping them in power to change, making campaign finance reforms overwhelmingly difficult to implement until we have better representation.

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