Tag Archives: campaign finance

Public Financing in 2016??

In the “good old day” (pre-2004),  the norm was that the major party candidates accepted public financing.   That changed in 2004, when several candidates in the Democratic Primary decided that they could raise enough on their own without accepting the partial matching funds (and the attached per state limits on spending).  (The per state limits are probably the most arbitrary and dysfunctional part of the current rules on matching funds.)  In 2012, both major party nominees opted against taking public financing for the general election.

This year, Donald Trump just might be taking a very long and hard look at accepting public financing.  There are several reasons why public financing might look very good to the Donald.  First, he has proven completely unable to raise funds on his own.  In slightly over twelve months, he raised a total of $17 million (tossing in $45 million of his own money for the primary).  Given that the public funding for the general election is $96 million, it’s in his personal financial interest to let you and I pay for his campaign.  Second, the only way that he has any shot at raising that type of money on his own is to beg for money from lobbyists — which would contradict the image that he is trying to present.  Third, in the Citizens United era. it is easy to farm out the campaign tasks.  Given Trump’s distaste for polling, data analysis and field operations, it is very conceivable that the official campaign will just dump those responsibilities on the Republican National Committee (which would be exempt form the spending limit) and just use the campaign for ads and appearances (and a skeleton staff.)   Even if later in the race, the campaign decides that it needs to spend more on ads, it can just farm that out to a Super PAC.   Finally, there is Trump’s perception that, with his celebrity status. he doesn’t really need to do much in terms of campaigning — a “run and they will vote for you” type of delusion.

Now, I haven’t heard on the internet or the news suggesting that Trump is planning to take public financing for the general election.  I am just saying that — with public funding available immediately after the convention and the Clinton campaign getting a free-ride on ads in swing states due to Trump’s campaign being broke — you would think somebody in that campaign is running the numbers.

Posted in Donald Trump, Money in Politics | 2 Comments

Supreme Court and Free Speech

One of the broad themes of the Roberts Court has been an expansive interpretation of free speech rights (best exemplified by its campaign finance cases).  Over the past seven terms, the Supreme Court has heard twenty-four cases with some free speech aspect.  Despite the public perception, the Supreme Court has not uniformly held in favor of free speech (free speech only having clear wins in 14 of the twenty-four cases and partial wins in 2 of the twenty-four cases).  This term, however, was the roughest term for free speech advocates since at least 2009.

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