Haroon Atcha // Political Columnist
I received an email a few days ago asking me to contribute to a campaign fund. This fund wasn’t for a congressional race in 2014 or a local election. No, this email asked me to contribute to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Super PAC. To be clear, Hillary Clinton hasn’t decided if she’s going to run in 2016 but in June alone the group raised over one million dollars. That’s right. A group has raised over a million dollars in support of a candidate who hasn’t decided if she’s going to run in an election still three years away. I feel like this is a talk we should have before we get swept up in election mania. We should delve into the issues of political contributions and super PACs because in my opinion, they’re in dire need of reform.
I don’t see that email as a bad thing on its own but rather as a symptom of a larger problem. The fact that Super PACs find it necessary to start raising funds this early in the election cycle is worrisome. It reminds me that a major part of any campaign comes down to raising as much money as possible and raising that money as early as possible. It reminds me that the main function of a campaign isn’t to inform, but rather to spend that money blanketing the district with as much material as you can. Like many people, this is what makes me love politics but hate elections. Elections aren’t about the issues; they’re about spending money to get your candidate’s face on as many T.V. commercials as you can.
For the 2012 presidential election, President Obama and Mitt Romney spent a combined $2 billion on campaigning. That number is so astronomically bonkers, just thinking about it makes my jaw drop.I want that to change for a few reasons. For one thing, I’m just tired of campaigns being so long. I don’t like being pestered for money three years before an election because in all honesty, I’m still tired from the last election.
Secondly, and definitely more importantly, I want campaigns to focus on issues. When we set meaningful limits to political contributions, we force our candidates to focus less on name calling and more on actual substance.Campaign laws need to change so we can spend less time wading through the mire of slanderous campaign ads and more time casting informed ballots.