Opinion: Campaign spending

POSTED: 04/15/14 1:13 AM

National Alliance MP Louie Laveist drew attention yesterday to campaign spending and expressed as his opinion that this type of spending ought to be capped.

The argument has a certain logic that is easy to understand. If you have a lot of money at your disposal it is possible to buy all the advertisement space you want, all the tee shirts you want to give away, all the billboards you want to erect and all the parties you want to throw to make voters feel that they matter.

It is a game with a predictable outcome: he (or she) who has the most money always wins.

Putting a cap on campaign spending is not something that could be arranged overnight and it is a pity that Laveist did not come up with this idea sooner. The time that separates us from the September 5 elections is most likely too short to reach an agreement about such a thorny issue, let alone regulate it properly.

This does not mean that the idea is worthless or (as some people might start thinking) an attempt at crying foul by a party that apparently does not have as much money to spend as its political opponents. To make this concept a reality, Laveist ought to carry the can all the way through the elections towards the future in 2018. In that year, there will be elections again and it seems to us that there is enough time between now and then to make serious work of this proposal.

In the meantime, we figure that contestants with not all that much money in their campaign coffers find cheaper ways to enthrall the electorate. Good ideas are worth more than chicken legs, tee shirts and other election paraphernalia. They are also worth more than the $300 that was apparently the going rate for a vote during the 2010 elections. All this may be true, but convincing voters that this is really so is another matter altogether.


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