- Category: Voter-Focused Articles
- Published Date
- Written by Farmer John
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It is widely acknowledged that the amount of money a candidate has at his or her disposal is the decisive factor in American politics. As a result, both our political discourse and the one person/one vote principle are now worthless. Across the country, people are recognizing that we cannot address any of our society’s many challenges until we bring back democratic integrity to our political process.
To date, strategies proposed for establishing integrity within our political process are impractical or unrealistic. On one hand, groups like Ralph Nader’s Public Citizen offer various versions of constitutional amendments that history suggests will take decades to ratify. On the other hand, groups like the California Clean Money Campaign lobby for legislation establishing publicly funded, “clean money” elections. Unfortunately, asking a congress elected with campaign donations to pass election
reform legislation is like asking the foxes guarding the hen house to pass anti-carnivore legislation. Again, history suggests that such reform efforts will continue to be incomplete and ineffective.
A better solution exists: Voters can simply choose to vote only for candidates who pledge not to take campaign contributions and who promise to make genuine electoral process reform their highest priority once elected. We don’t have to support candidates too timid to challenge our corrupt system. We won’t solve any of our problems until we create a climate supportive of candidates who do.
The only problem with this solution is that, as was the case initially with organic food, there is currently no viable market to support this kind of candidate. Voters can’t find any candidates willing to take such a pledge because candidates can’t find any voters who will support such candidates because voters can’t find such candidates… It’s a Catch-22 situation. That’s where the Farmers’ Market model comes in.
The Farmers’ Market was developed to provide customers (voters) a place where they could buy food that didn’t contain toxic additives (carcinogens, corporate campaign contributions) and to simultaneously induce farmers (candidates) to grow organic food (contribution-free campaigns) by providing them a place where they would find significant numbers of customers eager to buy their healthy crops. By focusing on both farmers and customers simultaneously, Farmers’ Markets created a viable organic food market virtually out of thin air that had been waiting a long time to be born. Today, organic food is one of the fastest growing sectors in American agriculture.
The Voters’ Farmers’ Market proposes to create a viable “money-free” campaign movement through a similar simultaneous focus—this time on candidates and voters—that will:
- Provide prospective candidates badly needed, state-by-state education materials on becoming a congressional candidate at low cost while also promoting a nation-wide, well designed “money-free” pledge movement that will garner “money-free” candidates instant media attention;
- Create a website and other forms of media content promoting the many reasons voters should support “money-free” candidacies as a nation-wide movement while also providing strategies the public can use to help “money-free” candidates spread their message for free;
- Build support for the Farmers’ Market model among progressive (and other) institutions and media platforms who will serve as independent champions of a practical and timely idea that will strengthen the integrity of all its supporters and enrich our democratic culture; and
- Facilitate a public dialogue focused on engineering new parameters for a truly democratic electoral process that promotes decision making among voters based on rational discourse and deliberation and that maintains the integrity of the one person/one vote principle.