Hillary Clinton has been calling for sweeping changes in the way that private citizens choose to get involved in the political process. Yes, I know, the term is “campaign finance reform.” She went so far as to say that she’d be willing to support a Constitutional amendment to “reform” the way voters spend their money in political campaigns. She’s not the only Democrat who feels this way.
Their concerns are real. How can a Democrat candidate expect to run an effective campaign when voters have the power to determine the outcome? Hillary and others on the Left get especially nervous when conservatives spend their own money to promote their own candidates. What’s a liberal to do? Well, Democrats have the answer: Put restrictions on the voters. In their eyes, campaigns are unfair because they favor those who contribute money.
There’s a twisted line of reasoning behind this support for campaign finance reform that borders on the totalitarian. Progressives view the average voter as insufficiently informed and knowledgeable to make correct decisions. And they believe that ordinary Americans are easily swayed by political ads that cloud their judgement and cause them to act against their own best interests.
It’s no exaggeration that liberals view average citizens as a liability to the voting process. Following the 2004 re-election of George Bush, Democrats and liberal media pundits explained the results by blaming voters who didn’t really know what they were voting for. ABC News correspondent Carole Simpson offered the simple possibility that the electorate was stupid. She was hardly alone in that unscientific evaluation. The London Daily Mirror asked in a headline, “How can 59,054,087 people be so dumb?” In an article titled, The Unteachable Ignorance of the Red States, novelist and Slate.com contributor, Jane Smiley, offers this warped perspective: “Ignorance and bloodlust have a long tradition in the United States, especially in the red states.”
Campaign finance reform creates an absurd paradox. By trying to eliminate the power that money supposedly gives politicians, we’re going to give them more legislative power to regulate the process. Talk about putting the fox in charge of the hen house. That would be like putting a criminal defendant in charge of the prosecution. You show me a politician who advocates campaign finance reform and I’ll show you a politician who sees some political advantage in it.
There’s a simple solution to eliminating the corruption that large amounts of campaign money appears to bring to the political process. Don’t vote for candidates you believe are beholden to their big money donors. Granted, such simplicity is counter-intuitive to the progressive mind. In their world, politicians are bought and sold right under the noses of the American public who are getting bamboozled by political chicanery of which they’re unaware.
The most realistic way to fight big money is with big money of our own. Of course, that creates a dangerously level playing field that allows anyone to get in the game—something Democrats would prefer to prevent through restrictive legislation. Every dictator in history has understood this problem, and has tried to implement the same solution: Leave the citizens out of the political process. When the electorate starts getting labeled the problem rather than the politician running for office, we’re setting the stage for a one-party tyranny.