Tuesday, June 01, 2004
As reported by Aaron Gould Sheinin in The State, this year's GOP primary is the most expensive in South Carolina history. The candidates have taken in over $8 million and spent nearly $7 million.
Not all of them are happy with the skyrocketing costs of election though. One of the candidates, Attorney General Charlie Condon, had this to say:
"It used to be that the idea of raising $1 million in a statewide race was considered a very enormous campaign," he said. "ThatÂs bothersome."
Contributing to this torrent of money is the decision by Thomas Ravenel (a millionaire 168 times over) to contribute more than $2 million dollars to his own campaign, setting off triggers in the recent Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act that raise the contribution limits for other candidates. The limit for the South Carolina primary now stands at $12,000.
Twelve thousand dollars. Rolls off the tongue doesn't it. Not so much out of the wallet though, at least not for more than 99% of Americans.
Balancing out our system to limit the advantages rich people have in getting elected is a good idea - democracy is supposed to give people equal political voice in government. But raising the limits that other rich people can give to other candidates does not solve anything. It just devalues the donations that regular folks can make, because candidates no longer have listen to us quite as much.
This is just another example in a long line of examples of how badly the Supreme Court screwed up with the 1976 Buckley decision, as campaign finance reformers contort their arguments and logic to meet its short-sighted and whacked-out reasoning. Because of the haste and ill-conceived argument of that decision, the political voice of normal Americans gets a little quieter with every passing year.