Real Solutions

Thirty-Three Cents a Day

“Money is the mother’s milk of politics.”

Jesse Unruh

Politics is an expensive business.

Politics is expensive, but what is the price of good government? It depends on how many people are sharing the cost.

  • If just 3% of the population, roughly 9 million people,
  • contributed $10 each month, 33 cents a day,
  • the annual amount raised would be more than a billion dollars.

What if grassroots funding were distributed to candidates at every level of civic service?

What if someone were to win office without the need to accept donations from any special interest or pork barrel lobbyist?

With a $10 monthly donation, each donor will supply the party with $120 each year.

  • Of that total, $20 will fund the basic party roles of;
  • voter registration,
  • voter of information, and
  • voter mobilization.

$100 assigned to the various races for local, statewide, and national office. Table I shows how funds might be divided.

Table I: Distribution example for a $100 annual contribution

Office Term (yrs.) $/yr. $/Election
President 4 $5.00 $20.00
US Senate (1) 6 $7.00 $42.00
US Senate (2) 6 $7.00 $42.00
Congress 2 $19.75 $39.50
State Senate 4 $20.00 $80.00
State Assembly 2 $10.00 $20.00
Governor 4 $4.50 $18.00
Lt. Governor 4 $3.50 $14.00
Secretary of State 4 $3.00 $12.00
Attorney General 4 $2.75 $11.00
Treasurer 4 $2.75 $11.00
Controller 4 $2.75 $11.00
County Commissioners 4 $12.00 $48.00

In the example above the donor contributes $20 to each Presidential election, $42 to each campaign for U.S. Senate, $39.50 each Congressional election cycle, and so on down-the-line. Table II shows the cumulative potential of a typical Congressional district of 600,000 when 3% of the population shares in this funding model.

Table II: Distribution example for a typical Congressional district

Office $/Election

President $360,000
US Senate(1) $756,000
US Senate(2) $756,000
Congress $711,000
State Senate seats $1,440,000
State Assembly seats $360,000
Governor $324,000
Lt. Governor $252,000
Secretary of State $216,000
Attorney General $198,000
Treasurer $198,000
Controller $198,000
County Commissioners $864,000

While the two major political parties ask for your support, they raise money with private agendas and promises.

Rewarding their contributors with your tax dollars and freedoms.

  • When they are exposed, they change the rules in the name of campaign finance reform,
  • but the results remain constant.
  • This so-called “reform” always benefits incumbents.
  • We cannot expect those in power to set up a system that will reduce their control and lessen their power.

We must develop a new system independent of current practices.

To gain financial support in this new system, it must be clear the money will be used to support candidates who will advance common beliefs and ideals. Any candidate that receives campaign funds must support at a minimum 75% of the platform of the political party.

  • The goals should be general in nature and relate to the process of government. The basic belief that the elected representatives should be citizen statesmen must fix maximum terms for each elected office.
  • These are Party imposed term limits set by the political party. Our government was not created for career politicians. Who establish seniority to manipulate the process for their supporters.
  • Elected officials must understand they will be leaving office to return to the regular world and be governed by the laws that they have enacted.
  • An added benefit to society of self-imposed term limits is the affect it will have on the elected official, bring to mind the concept of “move up or move out.”
  • When an elected official is at the end of the party imposed term limit, he or she must choose to challenge for a higher position or leave elected office.

This pressure on officeholders will require them to remain connected to the needs of the electorate they serve.

Each candidate receiving party funds must sign a contract. The contract will ensure those elected; officials do not change parties to avoid term limits. The terms would require the candidate personally repay all contributions received from the party with interest, should they defect to another party while they hold an elected office they used donors’ money to gain.

It is necessary to place safeguards on the funds to protect donors. A clear formula for distribution of the funds is necessary. No changes midyear can be made. The funds be used for the specific office they were collected.

No more than 1/6th of the funds collected may be used for running the party.

It is necessary to fund the organization but with this limit of $20 each year the donor will require the party to be efficient and staffed chiefly with volunteers.

The major portion of the party’s funds should be for the county or parish where the funds originated, that is, the political district where the donor lives.

The parties share of donations should be divided 10% for the national organization, 15% for the state organization, and 75% for the local organization.

The donation will be collected electronically as automatic debits from donor accounts. This method will provide efficient collection and tracking for distribution.

Control of contributions by the individual is important.

The party’s candidates, officers, and elected officials are there to serve. Each year, the donor will have the choice of having 5/6, up to $100, of their donation returned to them if they ask it during any calendar year.

The donor must seek the return by December 31.

This will allow the donor to remove financial support if they feel they are no longer served by the party. With a campaign fund set up for the various offices, the party will attract candidates for public office. Establishing a criterion for a candidate is vital.

Each candidate must be required to collect a set percentage of signatures of registered party voters to qualify for a primary or party caucus. The percentage should be in the 3% to 5% range to display support and commitment, with the final total set by each state organization.

It is important that government or any organization be controlled as closely as possible to the service level, and especially with politicians.

  • Elected officials must understand they are the electorate’s employees, elected only to advance the needs and goals of their citizen-employers.
  • This in no way is to imply that they are mere servants.
  • They are hired to serve the needs, short and long-term, of their employer and
  • are to be of such character to resist the quick, easy fix, rather than fixing a problem for the long-term.