Of all the factors attributable to incumbency protection, the need for campaign finance reform has traditionally been the poster child for what is wrong with the political system. A combination of legislation and court cases have given a massive, well documented fundraising advantage to incumbents. Further, this same combination of legislation and court cases have given a massive, well documented advantage to a very small number of contributors who the public perceives to have significant, undue influence over politics and government.
The existing web of campaign finance laws have created an environment where access and influence over the executive and legislative branches rest with a small group of contributors, both corporate and individual. Where this advantage exists in fact or is merely a matter of public perception, the result is a significant corrupting factor.
There are untold theories of how to fix the system, but almost all require the very legislators who abuse the system to vote to stop the distortion. This means that viable solutions need to be developed and implemented. In almost all cases, constitutional amendments or ballot initiatives will be required.
|Question: Jeb Bush out-raised the other Republican candidates for President during the primaries but still lost decisively. Does this suggest that money is not as influential as the media portrays?|
Most campaign finance laws are significantly skewed to benefit the incumbents. In almost every race, at every level of government, the incumbent significantly out-raises the opponent in much needed financial resources.
Decennial reapportionment and redistricting has reached the point where there are very few competitive seats at the legislative level.
Ballot access laws are designed to avoid competition by keeping potential opponents off the ballot.
In many states, restrictive voting rights legislation holds down voter registration and turn-out.
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