Opinion: Campaign contributions should be contingent upon significant effort toward reform

A good representative will welcome that challenge.

I shouldn’t have been shocked — after all, it has been almost a week since the final vote tally, but already in my inbox was an email from a winning candidate I admire and support, asking for a contribution for the next election almost two years down the road! Of course the shock wore off pretty fast, as I recognized that the best of our representatives must run in the constant money chase along with the worst, and are perhaps even more reliant on small-dollar donations. I remember getting similar emails early in the current term, to which I politely responded that I would hold off contributing until that requesting candidate pledged to support meaningful campaign finance reform. Now, I’m wondering if others might adopt that tactic. It seems to work great for the high rollers, whose contributions always come with an ask, obvious whether spoken or silent. I hope most folks would agree that big money in politics coupled with growing inequality has corrupted our democracy to the point where “plutocracy” might more accurately define our system, crippling real action on critically important issues.

So, whether or not we are able to recommend particular campaign finance reform proposals, or simply leave it to our representatives to announce support for some appropriate action, we should consider making our contributions contingent upon their significant effort toward reform. A good representative will welcome that challenge.

John Dunker,


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