No supporter of so-called “clean elections” would argue that we should be forced by law to pull the lever on election day for the candidate we oppose. But the tangled web that politicians and regulators have woven with campaign finance laws does often force us to support candidates we oppose during the run-up to election day.
Here’s just one perverse example: The “‘clean’ elections” system in Arizona. Under Arizona’s scheme, if Candidate A runs as a “‘clean’ elections” candidate, every time Candidate B, who declines public funding, raises a certain amount of money by making effective appeals for support, Candidate A gets matching funds at taxpayer expense. In other words, the government forces you as taxpayer to offset the support you give to Candidate B voluntarily by ensuring that your money goes to Candidate A too — involuntarily. Under this law, the spending of independent groups is also matched by coercive taxpayer donations to “‘clean’ elections” candidates.
It’s a horrific skewing of the political field in favor of the ideas and candidates voters don’t want to support — a direct coercive assault on their democratic rights.
The fate of Arizona’s “welfare-for-politicians” law has survived a federal appeal, but may yet be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Institute for Justice has taken up the cudgels on behalf of independent groups and candidates who garner financial support the old fashioned way . . . they earn it.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.