The Instigator
Tatarize
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
beem0r
Con (against)
Winning
41 Points

4b. Campaign Finance Reform

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 10/21/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 1,529 times Debate No: 5771
Debate Rounds (1)
Comments (1)
Votes (7)

 

Tatarize

Pro

A campaign lives and dies by money and it's getting worse and worse every election cycle. When money is more important than votes, we find that anybody we need to elect is going to be far more indebted to the money than the people. The current system is a legal nightmare, a joke, and an albatross around the necks of everybody in politics.

I don't know what the solutions to the problems are, but I do know that the problems are not going to be solved by doing nothing. We need to reform the system because the current system is categorically broken.

1) Politicians are indebted to the money.
2) The superwealthy rather than the most qualified can most easily seek office.
3) To comply with the current system you need an army of lawyers.
4) The 3rd party candidates cannot afford an army of lawyers and thus are forbade.
5) The rules are seemingly random and makeshift as to what is an isn't acceptable.
6) Campaign rules at present violate freedom of speech dictating what is and isn't acceptable.
7) Regardless if somebody opts into campaign finance they are buried by the 527s and are hamstrung by the rules and unable to fight back.
8) The rules limit the amount of funds one can raise and so if one candidate opts in and another opts out, the candidate as part of the system is doomed to be outspent.

We need to find a way to remove money from the equation without limiting free speech or making it a requirement to hire an army of lawyers, shutting out third-party voices and insulating incumbents from the will of the people. The money in politics must be removed, not half-socialized, if you want and agree to jump through certain hoops, only to be buried by a quasi-independent group's 24/7 attack ads with bottomless funds and vile lies.

We need something better than the best politician money can buy. There are a good number of proposals to draw from, from clean money to state funded elections as to how we remove money from having a greater input to our democracy than the people. -- We need Campaign Finance Reform.
beem0r

Con

Thanks for the challenge.

My opponent makes a number of observations, and from these, he has built a plan for Reforming Campaign Finance.

I will respond to the many assertions my opponent makes.

1. My opponent claims that in the current system, money is more important than votes, and that candidates become indebted to the money rather than to the people.
First off, nothing is more important to a candidate than votes. This is because with or without money, it is votes which will determine whether a candidate wins or not. Money can be used for advertisements and such, but they are only a means to an end - votes. Votes are what candidates really care about.
That isn't to say that candidates do not feel indebted to source of their money. This is actually a good thing. The money in a society is wherever the successful people are. Therefore, only successful people can donate these large amounts of money.
When we consider that a successful person, on average, is more intelligent, more informed, etc. than an unsuccessful person, it seems much better to allow policy to come from these successful people than from Joe six pack, who is in all likelihood ill-informed and of average intelligence.

2. My opponent claims that only the wealthy can run for office effectively, therefore stopping the most qualified from running.
However, the most qualified candidates are smart and effective people, so it is almost a certainty that they will be in the upper class rather than the middle or lower classes, especially considering that a person cannot run [for president at least] until he or she is 35 years old.
The need for wealth to run for president is also a good thing. It is a screening process. Especially when we consider my opponent's proposition - that all candidates be given a certain amount of money by the state, having a smaller group of possible candidates is good. Even without my opponent's plan for socialized campaigns, a screening process is good. People are known to vote for a candidate they can identify with - a middle class guy would probably be able to get a good portion of the vote JUST for being middle class.
If a person is not wealthy by the age they run for president, they are obviously not the driven, smart, effective leader we want for our country. If a person can't even amass his or her own personal wealth, how will he or she implement policies that will ensure America is wealthy as a nation?

3. My opponent claims that a candidate needs an 'army' of lawyers to accept campaign money in the current system. A candidate would probably only need one or two, who would simply check if the sources of the money are legal sources for campaign finance. An 'army' of lawyers is a clear exaggeration. Even so, if a candidate had a message that many people liked - if a candidate was truly popular and could not afford lawyers, you can be sure that some lawyers would do this work Pro Bono.

4. My opponent points out that the current system makes it almost impossible for third party candidates to compete. Indeed, we are truly in a two party system. And it's for the best that we are.
Third party candidates siphon votes from other candidates. As an extreme example, consider a situation where 5 candidates all stand for very similar things [let's say they're all on the right economically], and only one candidate is on the left economically. Even if the majority of people want economics policy on the right, their votes are split between 5 candidates. The left-side candidate would almost certainly win, simply because no one was there to siphon off potential voters from him.
What's the solution? Instead of picking 5 candidates, the right should throw its support behind only one candidate. What is the result? A two party system. It is unfair to have a straight vote-off between any more than two people, because of this very thing. There must be some selection process where only two candidates remain [like primaries]. Perhaps we could reform primaries to allow all parties to participate in one primary, which will choose only the two most popular candidates from among all parties. While I am against campaign _finance_ reform, this reform has nothing to do with finance. I am simply explaining how 3rd parties are not good, and so my opponent's finance reform, which places them on an even playing field, is bad.

5. My opponent asserts that the rules in campaign finance 'seem random.'
Whether they seem random or not, all the regulations were put in place for a reason. Policies are not created randomly. All this point proves is that my opponent doesn't understand these reasons. This isn't an argument for his side, since he has not given us any examples of 'seemingly random' regulations, he has simply asserted that he feels that they are random.

6. My opponent asserts that freedom of speech is violated by dictating what is acceptable and what is not. This is true in all corners of society. One may not run through the streets in the nude, for instance, or make unreasonable amounts of noise. Freedom of speech is not absolute, and pointing out that these regulations limit certain potential campaign financers freedom to their 'speech' is no more significant than pointing out that laws against public indecency limit freedom of speech. While it is a fact, it is not an argument. Just because something isn't 100% freedom-based does not mean it is wrong.

7. My opponent claims something here. I think he is attempting to say that these rules and regulations end up being too much of a problem for people to deal with. Unfortunately, this is observably not true. While there certainly is a burden put onto people, as there is with any law, it does not seem to be burying either of the two primary candidates in the presidential race. If it is the third party candidates my opponent is referring to as being buried by all these regulations, then I refer you to my argument on point #4.

8. My opponent makes the following claim: "The rules limit the amount of funds one can raise and so if one candidate opts in and another opts out, the candidate as part of the system is doomed to be outspent."
I don't see how this is true, since the person who opts in has his own fundraising limit. As my opponent says "The rules limit the amount of funds one can raise." The person who opts in and the person who opts out are two different people, so they have two different fundraising limits by my opponent's own words. Since my opponent gave no external source for his claim, and his very own explanation of the situation indicates no problem, we must see it as no problem.

Indeed, my opponent's case is made of unbacked assertions, and I have shown all of them to be either untrue, not significant, or actually helpful to the status quo of campaign finance.
Debate Round No. 1
1 comment has been posted on this debate.
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
If I could vote on the issue, I would vote Tatarize. However, beemOr made a decent fist of justifying maintaining the status quo and deserves credit for that.

As it happens, though, I can't vote at all so it really doesn't matter what I think.
7 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Vote Placed by Tatarize 6 years ago
Tatarize
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