Can Public Campaign Finance Systems Empower Small Donors?

October 25, 2017 | | International Business Times |

With only the wealthy funding and communicating with the campaigns of elected officials, politicians are incentivized to make policy decisions that align with their donors’ interests, not those of their broader constituency. But the elite donor class holds views that don’t align with the general public’s, as a 2016 Demos study detailed. Demos cites another report showing that “policy outcomes generally reflect the preferences of the affluent, while ordinary Americans have very little influence.” Research into the U.S. Senate has shown that senators, once elected, “are more responsive to donors than they are to non-donors of their own party or to their own voters.” [...]

Other areas of the country have recently passed public financing measures. As of June 28, there were 27 states, counties and municipalities that offered some kind of public campaign financing, according to Demos. Overall, the results are similar to those in Seattle: greater race and class diversity among donors, more donors, more women running for office — and more of candidates’ time spent with constituents and less on fundraising.