This essay argues to abolish campaign finance laws in the United States. There are two theories that are contested in order to determine an answer to this question. Theory X states that the government can and should abolish campaign finance laws because it does not affect election outcomes or the campaigning process. Theory Y states that campaign finance laws are imperative in order to put a cap on the damage that is done by money in the campaigning process of party election. Therefore, theory X does not support campaign finance laws and theory Y supports and encourages campaign finance laws. The main factor in this argument is that the relationship between campaign finance laws and election outcomes is not causative. Thus, theory X proves over theory Y stating campaign finance laws in the USA should be abolished in the current system of campaign finance regulation. This argument is fleshed out using sources that examine empirical effects of campaign finance laws. The evidence will prove a systemic insufficiency in congressional elections in the USA due to campaign finance regulation policies.
To begin, I claim that theory X proves over theory X. This essay will first examine arguments in which do not support campaign finance regulation. To flesh out this argument in details the latter part of this essay will address competing arguments that support and encourage the importance of campaign finance regulation in party politics in the USA. Theory X in this essay claims that campaign finance laws should be abolished because with or without the laws it would not have a direct effect on the election outcomes. Not only this, it wastes policy-makers time on laws that are otherwise disregarded.
The first piece of evidence offers of example of how campaign finance regulation not only does not sufficiently solve the corruption it is attempting to fix but furthers the systemic instability of the election process in the USA
. Specifically, in addressing the laws adopted by the FECA (Federal Election campaign Act of 1971)
. The purpose of this act was to limits the contributions made by donor into the campaigning process as it causes political corruption
. The main concern was for the incumbency advantage
. The incumbency advantage in this essay is defined as the candidates already elected into office who have greater access to the resources provided to them. Thus, giving them a greater opportunity to establish, maintain and grow their platform in running in election. The incumbency advantage draws a concern for the fairness of an election and the unequal opportunities for candidates in the campaigning process
. The FECA attempted to solve the problem of the incumbent advantage by strengthening campaign finance regulation
. Statistical evidence of this argument is as follows. The FECA limited PACS (Political Action Committee) to $5,000 contribution per/donor per year to a running candidate
. The state of Delaware limited contributions to $1,200 per election for statewide office which is lower than the Federal limit of $2,100 per election
. Thus, being a highly regulated state. FECA corporate limits were $0 and Delaware PACs donation were unlimited
. The states would thus interpret the laws beneath the limits being placed. Although, there were many loop holes that a state could go around to bring money in areas where there were spaces to do so. This is where the insufficiency is rooted and it the stem of the problem for campaign finance regulation in the USA. By the end of the 1900’s candidates running in elections would exploit these laws to their greatest benefit. The FECA created laws that involved direct funding limits but did not address various other types of unregulated political activity that continuously financed candidates in the campaigning process
. These finances can be broken down into hard money and soft money, which will be addressed in detail later on. The FECA had a certain expectation to be upheld by the courts although nonetheless by 2000 nearly $500 million of soft money was spent on federal election
. As a response to these disastrous number, the Congress created the BCRA which banned all the inflow of soft money in federal elections
. This policy was done so specifically on the use of money that would go into a candidate campaigning against the defeat of another candidate in the broadcasting of media. It was defined as “electioneering communications”
. The law also only applies within 30 days or 60 days before and after blackout periods
. As the argument prevailed in the Supreme Court court Buckley v. Valeo that “… as long as they did not deny candidates adequate funds, they touch very little on upon the First Amendment’s protection of free speech …”.
Essentially, this claims that campaign finance regulation is justified as it sorts out the corruption in the electoral system in the USA. The argument evident here supports theory X in that with the laws enacted by the FECA and the BCRA corruption within the political election process is not only still existent but even worse. The reason being that regardless of certain contribution limits candidate will still find ways of accumulating money in unregulated circumstances. This not only increases the amount of money but the money is unregulated and thus even more difficult to pinpoint in the congressional election. In conclusion, the regulation fosters further corruption because it only opens more gateways for unregulated means of funding; the problem of donors is still existent and now they funds are also characterized in bribes or gifts.
In addition to, another piece of evidence that supports theory X offers the principle that because campaign finance does not have a direct effect on election outcomes; one cannot confirm that regulation of such laws would result in a safer environment in the election process
. The claim is supported by the idea that “the only effect the contributions is to increase the candidate’s election probability.
” This source offers empirical evidence that greater contribution limits to a candidate running for election does not translate directly into en electoral outcome
. The research conducts an experimental design that uses treatments groups to confer the relationship between finance regulation and election outcomes. The result supports theory X in determining that campaign finance regulation laws do not change the result of an election
. Thus, the argument supports the idea that with or without campaign finance regulation the concern for it distorting election outcomes is proven false. The evidence further supports why campaign finance laws should be abolished in the USA. Logically speaking, why would you want a government to go through the details and time of passing legislation that not only is otherwise ignored but causes greater problems. If candidates are going to naturally find ways around laws you can ether make them stricter or get rid of them. In this case, the concern in found in the adoption of the laws themselves. Thus, theory X makes more sense for the electoral system than theory Y in the USA.
For example, the Colorado Democratic Party banned more than $2000 of individual money to candidate donations at the state level. Although, a group known as the Four Millionaires or the Roundtable found a way around this legislation
. These men were a group of wealthy liberals that funded independent expenditures into the election process. There resources included direct link to political machines and various skilled organizations
. They provided ample funding that bolstered campaigning against US Republicans and proposed a core example of successful outside funding within the system
. In conclusion, if you limits money in one place, it will come from somewhere else. Therefore, the electoral process is not completely distorted by campaign spending alone. You cannot truly control or isolate this variable in the political process
Following the argument pertaining to theory X, theory Y argues that in the absence of campaign finance regulation political influence will screw to the wealth which creates a corrupt environment in congressional elections. The evidence provided supports the claim that campaign finance laws are put in place for a legal reason with a distinct purpose
. If there are no laws putting a cap on the amount of money that flows into the election process then there will inevitably be concern for the incumbent advantage
. The incumbency advantage will be fleshed out in more detail following but essentially it distorts the election process and the outcome in any given election.
The first piece of evidence is a source in which argues that various campaign finance laws exert more or less restrictive pressures on party competition
. This argument agrees that campaign finance regulation is a problem but uses another form of regulation in order to solve
that problem. The relationship in this argument between campaign finance laws and election outcomes is observed based on the influence to party competition. The empirical research is based upon the direct link that regulated and unregulated funding to parties add to the playing field in elections
. Ideally, the debate focuses on how campaign finance regulation effects the political fairness between competitors in the elections. To flesh out the argument that theory Y is claiming this source presents evidence that proves how campaign finance regulation hurts party competition more so but can be solved. Broken down, the theory states that the more money flowing into parties and a candidates campaign the higher the ceiling becomes
. As indirect and direct financing grows the ceilings grows along with it. The money offers candidates the opportunities to grow their platform and reap greater benefits, being increased support from the electorate, more votes
. Thus, making money a vital component to winning elections. The formula would be; the more money a candidate has the greater the access to campaign media which increases voter turnout and thus translates to a higher change of winning an election
. This evidence supports the idea that campaign finance regulation makes it nearly impossible to parties with a smaller platform or following to stand out amongst their larger competitors. The main argument is rooted in the belief that funding directly links to retaining a strong platform in an election
. Through common belief, a platform is a candidate’s main source of getting their ideologies and policies to the public. Thus, the greater ability they have in doing so, the greater ability they have in pursuing the public to vote for them. Thus, having enough funding to support this need translates into higher chances of winning an election. Thus, it is only logical to believe that a party needs money in order to have a much higher change of winning. This proves theory Y true. The solution that this source offers is to create laws that even the amount of funding each candidate can utilize
. This attempts to solve the problem of unfairness in the political game and give smaller parties an equal challenge to incumbents in the election process. The source states that, “When, limits are put in place all candidates are “speaking through the same sizes mega-phone. Thus competition is less based by the volume of the message”
. In conclusion, the circular policy-making decision that are most commonly used in support of campaign finance regulation are what make the problem so severe. It is using the problem to solve the problem. This is why theory X claims that campaign finance laws should be abolished in the USA. It is important to understand this alternative theory that supports campaign finance regulation because it further proves why the regulation is the root of the problem and thus should be removed entirely. I offer this principle to explain why the evidence supports the claim that campaign finance laws cause more problems than they do solve problems. In relation to the the stability and transparency of the politics of election in the USA. Thus, supporting the abolishment of campaign finance laws in accordance to theory X.
Following is a piece of evidence that supports the argument for campaign finance regulation. In specific, this argument compares the United States system of campaign finance regulation to the British system
. This offers a unique perspective in comparing the benefits or consequences of both the United States and a foreign system. The basis is laid out here:
“American candidates have to raise money to pay for their own individual campaigns and do not rely almost exclusively on party finance as they do in Britain where the political parties also have the advantage of free television time in the form of party election broadcasts. In the United States, politicians have to spend large amount of money to pay for television commercials to get the messages to the electorate” (page 132, para. one).
The statistic show that in 2000 the United States spent $3 billion on campaigns for federal elections and in 2001 Britain spent £25.6 million
. Essentially, this source focuses on the importance of campaign finance in any given election. Not only, certain legislation such as the BCRA are imperative in order to protect the first Amendment in the American Constitution. In this argument, contributing money to candidates running for election is seen as a direct link to the basic right of freedom of speech
. It is seen as a person’s participation in the political process. The statistic this argument uses to support itself is based on the 2/3 amount of total spending money in election is from incumbent legislators
. This gives political entities the right to believe that the political process is an unfair playing field and needs to be leveled. In addition to, the FECA only limits “hard money” and offers the option for candidates to accept “voluntary” donations
. By 2001, American political parties altogether raised $659 million in hard money donations and $509 million in soft money donations
. The concerns brought to attention here are that the use of soft money donations have become a “tactic of choice” in elections and this need to be stopped
. Although, it still support campaign finance regulation based on the principle that is insures confidence in the protection of the First Amendment and secures confidence in the people with what is going on in the government; integrity to the right and freedoms outlined in the Constitution.
With a detailed breakdown and understanding of these two competing theories and why exactly one would supports theory X and theory Y; the evidence provided supports why campaign finance regulation should be abolished and not encouraged. I must concede that while opposing arguments to this theory are addressed, for the following reasons I claim why theory X proves over theory Y. The political field is a complicated arena, there are multiple reasons why a candidate may win or loose an election. For any factor, this becomes very difficult to control that a single component of the election process can determine a candidates victory
. The environment of an election revolves around so many different measures that may persuade a vote towards one candidates over another
. As a result, studies that attempt to conclude one estimation in a candidates victory is extremely limited in its validity. It is too difficult to determine that money directs relates to electoral outcomes, thus you cannot make such an accusation
. The variable cannot be isolated, so the statement cannot be consequentially valid. There are multiple factors that intercept this theory. Although, the evidence provided presents valid examples of more candidates going against or around the campaign finance laws than one has reason to believe such regulation legitimizes the campaigning process in congressional elections
. Based on the evidence provided, this essay states the claim that in the USA it would be more efficient to get rid of campaign finance laws than it would be to strictly regulate or keep the existing laws in place.
In addition to this point, various reforms or changes over the history of campaign finance laws continuously fail to rectify the problem. The FECA responded with the BCRA and the legislation still holds in Congress to date
. In today’s political arena in the United States congressmen legally receive public financing exceeding $1.5 million per election in various regulated and unregulated forms
. Essentially, the legislation is a circular process because while it limits hard money, this only increases the use of soft money.
“The lesson Congress should have learned from its last attempt at campaign finance reform is that limiting funds that can be contributed to campaigns by individuals or groups does not lessen the influence of money in congressional elections
In response to this, this essay claims that the reason campaign finance laws corrupt the system is because the government continuously uses more regulation over the money flowing into the election process to attempt to solve the problem of corruption. The argument that theory X is rooted in is that the problem is the regulation of money itself. This is where the argument comes full circle. Theories and arguments that support campaign finance regulation address the concern that money causes in the election process, but keeps allowing the problem to grow because it does not realize that the source of the problem is in the regulation over money itself. This is the root claim belonging to theory X in this essay, which supports that campaign finance laws should be abolished in the USA.
In 2016, active President Barack Obama gave a speech at the State of Union on Tuesday, January 12, 2016 in the chamber of the United States House of Representatives. Here the President reflect on campaigning legislation and opinions of the election process. Obama states, “We must reduce the influence of money in politics
“. Not to say it is because of support of the 44th President this argument proves valid, but because it is reasonable belief to imagine that the more you add to a problem the larger it grows. The viable solution would be to eliminate the problem at its source. By abolishing campaign finance laws it offers a solidification in the government that the laws they are being put in place are being respected. Transparency in the government is only valid so long as the laws and bing interpreted and respected along all lines. If campaign finance regulation is so widely complex and easily ignored, than giving the electoral process a real change will help resource the corruption at its core. The consequences of this, like an political decision, are only to be proven in its course of action. I cannot conclude that abolishing campaign finance regulation will solve the problem, but based on the evidence provided in this essay, it s thoroughly supported that abolishing campaign finance regulations is a much more coherent theory than encouraging its legislation over and over again, only causing more of the same problem. For a government to run in an efficient manner, it cannot waste time implemented policies, laws, or judicial responsibilities that run into the same concern that is trying to be avoided. The USA needs to make a finite decision that will stop candidates in their tracks of playing around the rules within the electoral process in congressional elections.