Money politics has long dominated American politics, but the scale of the problem has gotten much worse since the Supreme Court made its infamous 2010 ruling known as: Citizens United. This is despite the fact that evidence is growing that small donors can fund political campaigns if they get some support such as through a voluntary public matching funds program. There is interesting news coming from the Associated Press about the progress of Seattle’s innovative system of funding elections, written by Tom James:
On a muggy spring morning, Seattle City Council candidate Pat Murakami weaves through front yards and porches, knocking on doors in a gritty but gentrifying neighborhood.
It’s a tradition for political hopefuls. And for Murakami, a two-time council contender, it’s her main fundraising strategy, thanks to a first-of-its-kind program allowing Seattle voters to give candidates taxpayer money to fuel their campaigns.
“I would have been a complete non-contender without the program,” she said of her first race in 2017, when she beat six other primary candidates before losing the general election.
Now entering its second election, Seattle’s voter voucher-based campaign financing program is drawing national attention with support from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a Democrat from New York and presidential contender who proposes duplicating it at the federal level. It’s one of at least eight public campaign finance programs enacted by city and county governments across the U.S. since 2015.