Meaningful Campaign Reform Starts At The Ballot

In The Hill a few days ago, there was a story about how money in politics (See “Sen. Sanders champions liberal charge against money’s influence in politics“) seemed to trump all other issues during the recent Take Back the American Dream conference held in Washington, DC.

While Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) seemed to steal the stage, his belief that big money exerts “an incredible force over the political process” is not anything new. Neither was his attack on wealthy Americans.

Annabel Park, founder of the Coffee Party, also correctly noted in The Hill piece, that politicians, once elected, fall back to special interest groups and cease to put the reform they campaigned on into action. It becomes more about hanging on to power, than being focused on implementing solutions.

So, what is the solution?

There is no doubt that money impacts politics, and it impacts legislation. Is the solution attacking people for being wealthy? Is it complaining about the Citizens United case? Or is the solution finding a way to refocus our politicians so they engage with and are more accountable to voters?

As the director of the Reform Party in VA, we believe that one approach is to end state issued ballots for elections. Require the campaigns to print and distribute ballots to voters. This would divert money from television advertising and force campaigns to be more focused on grassroots and person-to-person campaigning. You won’t get a vote from an attack ad on television. You will need to ask a person directly for their vote, and give them a ballot. That will help change the candidate’s focus, and help bring government back to the people.