No democracy, please -- we're Democrats
The bill would effectively eliminate virtually all congressional campaigns by independent and third-party candidates.... [it] would provide public financing for both Democrats and Republicans in most districts. But ... candidates not qualifying for funding would not only receive no government funds, but would also be barred from spending any privately raised money. No government money and no private money means that a non-qualifying candidate would be prohibited from spending any money at all, not one red cent. Not even a business card with the candidate’s name and office sought would be legal under the bill!In a discussion of this bill on Ballot Access News, a contributor drops the penny:
Requirements for qualifying for funding would be relatively easy for the major parties but almost impossible for independent and third-party candidates. The bill would provide public funding for nominees of parties that had averaged 25% of the vote for U.S. House in that district over the last two elections. Independent candidates who had averaged 25% would also get full public funding, but unlike party candidates, only the specific individual who previously got those votes would qualify. All others would be required to submit petitions signed by 20% of the last vote cast for full funding, and 10% for partial funding. For example, in Missouri’s 2nd congressional district, a candidate with a party that won less than 25% of the vote in the last two elections would need nearly 70,000 signatures to qualify for the public funding that her/his Democratic and Republican opponents would get automatically, and only signatures from the 2nd District would count. Nearly 35,000 signatures would be required in order to allow the candidate to spend anything at all on the campaign.
In certain districts where a single party is dominant, the bill would eliminate campaigns by the district’s second party as well. Not surprisingly, Democrats (who propose this bill) hold Republican opponents to below 25% in more districts than Republicans do the same to Democrats.
[I]n 2004, Rep. Obey faced a challenger from the left for the first time in his political career in the person of Mike Miles, who ran as a Green. Obey refused to debate Miles, saying that he (Miles) was not a “legitimate” candidate. Miles got one of the highest vote totals of any third party candidate that year; he’s already announced that he’s running again.This breathtakingly shameless and desperate Katie-bar-the-door move suggests that some of these do-nothing Democrats are feeling squeezed from both sides -- the Republicans on the right and dissatisfied Progs getting bold enough to bolt on the left. Safe Democratic congressional districts may be on the endangered-species list -- and not a minute too soon -- so the obvious remedy is to outlaw the problem.
The other sponsors of this quiet coup -- it's an interesting list:
- Rep DeLauro, Rosa L. [CT-3]
- Rep Filner, Bob [CA-51]
- Rep Frank, Barney [MA-4]
- Rep Israel, Steve [NY-2]
- Rep McGovern, James P. [MA-3]
- Rep Ryan, Tim [OH-17]
- Rep Waxman, Henry A. [CA-30]