In Civic Life

Elections by Money


The only way to stop elections by money, the spiral of overwhelming political campaign expenses, seems to be stopping political campaigns. We elect people to do the work of governance, not to prove themselves experts at printing signs, inventing slogans and soundbites, and speaking at campaign financing dinners. Campaigns are a major distraction from quality leadership. They are undemocratic and produce undemocratic governments. Political campaigns are about the rich. What the rich want, what the rich will pay for, and what the rich get for their money.

Rich is relative, of course. In a local campaign, a person doesn’t have to be as rich as a Mitt Romney, or even a Hillary Clinton. They just have to be richer than the other candidates or rubbing elbows with people richer than the people with whom other candidates rub elbows.

Bad Ecology, Socially and Environmentally

In the meantime, landscapes are littered and the sewer systems clogged with campaign signs and flyers. Campaign advisors and pollsters work to trick the public into thinking their candidate will cure whatever the voters need to be cured, and do it cheaper than it can be done. Television, radio, and newspapers get richer as campaign ads flood the market and provide guaranteed income for the media, a media which is increasingly owned by a small number of rich people. Candidates spend more time at super-expensive dinners that only the rich can afford than they spend talking to the people they supposedly represent.

A political campaign based on the quality of the candidate doesn’t exist and may never have. Quality campaigns do not guarantee the quality of the candidate and excellent candidates can run horrible campaigns. Who wants to elect a campaign?

None of this produces better governance.

The Role of Government

The role of government is to organize and manage our collective resources for the good of all. To establish codes of conduct that ensure fair play and safety for all. And to oversee the use and distribution of those resources and the enforcement of those codes of behavior fairly and equally for all.  To create a democracy.

Peer Elections

Tinkering with campaign financing is as distracting and unproductive as the need for financing campaigns. The need is the core issue. To create a deeper democracy, we need to eliminate the necessity for campaign financing.

Candidates should be elected by people who know their work and are in the best position to know how well they serve our collective interests. Peers should elect peers.

This would create a system in which people vote for people they know and not for people they don’t know. Sociocratic elections are the only democratic elections.