247 Days To Mt. Kilimanjaro – Political Campaign Spending – A Parker’s Climb Proposal

I am a huge supporter of our democratic process and hope everyone plans to vote this next Tuesday. I can honestly say that I have never missed voting in an election since turning the legal voting age.  This year, I donated on more than one occasion in support of the candidates that I support, and I have spent considerable time reading to learn where my own local candidates stand on issues that are important in my view to our future.

Having said that, I will be very happy when the elections are over. For the first time in over two months, I will plug my land line (home phone) back in. We unplugged it to avoid the obnoxious daily calls coming in day and night to advertise and poll for local and statewide  candidates. When I could not even eat dinner without being interrupted by the phone ringing, I finally said “enough is enough, I am over it!”  Truly our phone has been unplugged for over two months!  (I think we can safely justify living on cell phones now!)

The 2010 midterm elections have broken all records for political campaign spending in the great old USA. (Is this what we really wanted to break a record for?)  It is estimated that US House and Senate campaigns alone will spend over $3.7 billion dollars in the November elections. This amount only takes into account House and Senate campaigns – consider what this amount would look like if we could account for every dollar spent towards every upcoming race nation wide.

California leads the pack for spending in the high profile Governor’s race. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman put $31 million of ads on TV to promote her candidacy for California’s GOP gubernatorial campaign. This is for TV alone people! What could the total add up to if every dollar was accounted for in Whitman’s quest to become Governor.

Whitman’s opponent, Silicon Valley multi-millionaire-turned Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, spent $19 million on TV (only TV) in an effort to try and convince Republican voters he was the most qualified candidate to compete against Attorney General Jerry Brown in November. Is it any wonder that on a daily basis the media giants fuel negativity in the campaigns to drive the need for candidates to spend these ludicrous amounts on TV advertising? Duh?

Think about it, nationwide midterm elections have certainly driven revenue for TV stations beyond what anyone could have budgeted. Is there a point that residents of California have to consider the spending for their gubernatorial race alone, and question how either candidate will spend their hard earned tax dollars when they see no cap on their own campaign spending limits?

I cannot even begin to measure the cost of printed materials showing up in my mailbox for the local campaigns. I will be totally honest – I stopped reading it long ago! It has been a waste of postage, a waste of trees and has added considerably to the trash Geoffrey drags to the curb two times a week. If we really knew to real costs involved in this election we would all be sick.

There are so many places that these dollars could be spent that would benefit American citizens more than the bombardment of negative campaign ads that we all have to endure. I know, there is a cost involved in running elections and I know that there is legislation to regulate campaign spending, but where will it end?

Perhaps there should be a new campaign spending rule. I propose the following:

For every dollar spent on the political campaign, by a person running for political office, these candidates must also donate one dollar to a non-profit charitable organization (having nothing to do with a political party) within their state.  The donations must be a dollar for dollar match with no cap limits!

The donations could feed children, it could provide heat to a senior who cannot afford winter heating bills. It could help senior citizens or families trying to buy medicine for a critically ill family member to avoid the decision – medication or food for the table this month. It could fund powerful research to help those suffering with Heart disease, Diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and other neurological diseases, Cancer, HIV and others.  It could help to reeducate those who have lost their jobs, and on and on and on!

I am sure these view points will be met by some with the sense that I am extremely naive. Maybe it further points out that I am writing this post with my rose colored glasses on, “Really?” – where do we draw the line? At what point do we finally stand up to say that the campaign process in the US has gone well beyond healthy grassroots campaigning, and that these political races have turned into negative propaganda to bend the minds of Americans away from making educated voting decisions?

I do encourage you all to get out and vote – I think everyone I know will be there voting on Tuesday. We live in such a great nation but I have to believe there are a lot more people, like me, who are confused, frustrated and just left with a feeling of sadness when we consider all of the places that this unaccounted for money could have been used for good.  Regardless of the party you support, your vote is important.

I personally think my campaign spending proposal is a good one!  Now how to get this passed?

For every dollar spent on the political campaign, by a person running for political office, these candidates must also donate one dollar to a non-profit charitable organization (having nothing to do with a political party) within their state.  The donations must be a dollar for dollar match with no cap limits!

Regardless Of The Party You Support - Commit To Vote!

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