The Following is an unprinted letter to the Times
The election is now over with pretty much predictable results. Not the least of those will be the loser's plaint "He bought the election, I couldn't compete with his war-chest (or PAC money or .....) to get TV/radio time to..." or variations thereof. While maybe not entirely true there is generally enough validity for honest discussion.
A relatively simple way to eliminate that disparity would be to require each campaign ad placed on public air ways to have equal time immediately adjacent to it made available the opponent(s) at no charge. For example, if the incumbent (or challenger) were to purchase a 30 second spot in prime time, then a 30 second spot would be made available to the opponent(s) at the same time at no charge for air time.
Such a law would probably make air time more expensive, but effectively limit one sided presentations and serve the public interest by providing a more balanced contest. Would anyone care to quote odds on the chance of an incumbent congress passing one?
How do you think it would work if we limited campaign contributions to individuals within the sending district of the office seeker. No companies and no PACS, just individuals. We are now having a Senate race here in New Jersey. One candidate was on the front page of a local paper shown returning from a fund raising trip across the country. Just what in the hell anyone in California or Kansas is doing contributing to a candidate from New Jersey for is beyond me (it isn't really but what else can I say?). It's an egregious and arrogant intrusion on local interests when anyone outside the sending district seeks to affect the outcome of an election, whether it's a local councilman or the President. Look at the furor raised when the press reported that a foreign power (Iran?) offered a billion to Farakhan to spend on US elections.
The true facts of the matter are when you get right down to it, our election system has devolved into the most corrupt in the world. Money equals access. Many foreigners consider Washington the most corrupt capital in the world. And who's to say they're wrong? Can anyone tell me the difference between handing $20 to a border guard to overlook a pound of Maryjane; and a company or country handing $1,000,000 to a lobbying firm to effect a change in legislation or regulatory ruling. The only marvel is that our government(s) work at all.