My suggestion for stopping this horrendous waste of money is to place a cap on how much each candidate can spend. All candidates would be on a level playing field and the best candidate will prevail. A game of strategy and resourcefulness would show a candidate's potential to be worthy of the office they are campaigning for.
If it takes lots of money to campaign for an elected office, then every politician will either be rich or owe something to rich people. This leads to oligarchies, not democracy. Social policies which allow all Americans to have the basic necessities for life and an opportunity to prosper must be made collectively by people from all parts of the socioeconomic spectrum.
I believe that political campaign spending is out of control because of the sheer amount of dollars that are thrown into these elections. The massive contributions make people skeptical that these donors are simply "buying" votes to help them push their agendas. Campaign spending is beyond out of control when state races are now regularly spending hundreds of millions on campaigns. That money should be spent to help bolster our economy instead.
A record $2.6 billion was spent on two presidential campaigns in 2012. That money could have been better spent on houses and food for the hungry. Assuming one house costs $100,000 to build, the amount of money donated to political campaigns could have built 26,000 houses. Imagine how many cans of green beans that could buy.
I cannot even fathom why it would cost so much to put this spectacle on. Furthermore, I think it's atrocious how much one candidate potentially loses just to win a race. However, having said this, I believe that this type of spending (particularly done by the rich, I'm not referring to the more grassroots stuff) must somehow help the economy, if the money is going to the right places. I'm okay with a rich big wig spending millions of dollars to help other businesses get business to help him get elected. The question is... where is the money actually going? Also, for all you that argue "oligarchy," remember that some of this money also comes out of the pockets of donators who support their candidates... it's usually but not always rich people doing this. And anyway I'm okay with the richer folk spending their money on lesser folks and their businesses.