Campaign finance reform damages our political process. It is a problem that affects all political races, from the national level to local politics including our own community, Middletown. With both candidates running for Mayor of Middletown pointing fingers at each other for how they finance their campaigns, it becomes necessary to take a step back and look away from the focus on money. Systemically, the problem is not whether each one of these candidates lacks the scruples to finance their campaigns legally, but instead the problem is campaign finance reform.
Changes need to be made to help get big money out of politics, and organizations like ConnPIRG have offered solutions such as small donor empowerment systems. These systems would create an environment where small contributions are matched with limited public funds at a rate of 6:1! Thus, the candidate receiving these funds has the ability to compete with big money candidates, and the public is given more of an incentive to donate to politicians!
With reforms enacted, we no longer have to worry about local Middletown publications posting articles about investigations into a “mayoral candidate’s cash donations.” Essentially, those articles imply that a “heated race” is not about discourse on policies that have the potential to change lives, but on “both candidates filing complaints about campaign contributions.”
Constant finger-pointing overwhelms the front pages of newspapers with pointless bickering on investigations and the sums of their campaign funds. Instead, what should be on the front page of these newspapers should be the candidates’ positions, such as how they would help small businesses on Main Street and how they would help create meaningful, lasting change in the Middletown community.
Wasiak is a member of the Class of 2019.