Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?
April 19, 2014, 03:12:35 pm
HomePredMockPollEVCalcAFEWIKIHelpLogin Register
News: Please delete your old personal messages.

+  Atlas Forum
|-+  Election Archive
| |-+  2008 Elections
| | |-+  2008 U.S. Presidential Election Campaign
| | | |-+  Question from Australia for US Citizens
« previous next »
Pages: [1] Print
Author Topic: Question from Australia for US Citizens  (Read 3303 times)
nessjez
Newbie
*
Posts: 3
Australia
View Profile
« on: November 02, 2008, 08:07:02 am »
Ignore

The presidential election is pretty big news over here and receives a great deal of news coverage.

Most Australians are fascinated at the process as it's so completely different to our own electoral system.

One thing that stands out from all the coverage we see is that an enormous amount of money is spent electing a new President. 

I wanted to ask, in such tough economic times, has the amount of spending not been questioned by the US public?  In Australia there are limits to how much money can be donated to a political party or candidate, and there are limits to what a candidate/party can spend during an election campaign.

Has the subject of limiting spending been raised at all during this campaign?

(and for what it's worth, Australian opinion polls are very much in favor of an Obama win, mainly due to a strong anti-Bush/Republican sentiment here)
« Last Edit: November 02, 2008, 08:22:29 am by nessjez »Logged
RG Fritz
JLD
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 5342
United States


Political Matrix
E: -3.48, S: -3.48

View Profile
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2008, 09:09:21 am »
Ignore

Personally I haven't contributed any money to Obama, and given the amount of money he already has without any of mine, I'm glad I didn't.
Logged

CARLHAYDEN
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 10660


Political Matrix
E: 1.38, S: -0.51

View Profile
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2008, 09:57:14 am »
Ignore

The presidential election is pretty big news over here and receives a great deal of news coverage.

Most Australians are fascinated at the process as it's so completely different to our own electoral system.

One thing that stands out from all the coverage we see is that an enormous amount of money is spent electing a new President. 

I wanted to ask, in such tough economic times, has the amount of spending not been questioned by the US public?  In Australia there are limits to how much money can be donated to a political party or candidate, and there are limits to what a candidate/party can spend during an election campaign.

Has the subject of limiting spending been raised at all during this campaign?

(and for what it's worth, Australian opinion polls are very much in favor of an Obama win, mainly due to a strong anti-Bush/Republican sentiment here)

First of all, let me welcome you to the forum.

Second, several months ago both McCain and Obama committed to public financing of their general election campaign, but Obama withdrew from the agreement.

Third, there is a popular misinpression as to the effectiveness of money in political campaign. While a lack of sufficent money can be critical, one a reasonable level has been achieved, expenditures in excess of that level tend to be relatively ineffective.

Fourth, there are several limitations on contributions under American (federal) law, but it appears that many of them are being violated by the Obama campaign. I hope we have a thorough review by the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) after the election, and that appropriate fines are imposed.  Among the violations are accepting contributions from foreign nationals, accepting contributions with fraudulent use of credit care.
Logged

Registered in Arizona for Fantasy election purposes.
J. J.
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 31969
United States


View Profile
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2008, 02:40:58 pm »
Ignore

Nessjez, a lot of people here are worried about the effect of money on politics.

We also have limits, but under are system, I can spend any amount of my own money to advertise my political views.  That is part of the problem here.

There are limits to what I can give to someone else.
Logged

J. J.

"Actually, .. now that you mention it...." 
- Londo Molari

"Every government are parliaments of whores.
The trouble is, in a democracy the whores are us." - P. J. O'Rourke

"Wa sala, wa lala."

(Zulu for, "You snooze, you lose.")
nessjez
Newbie
*
Posts: 3
Australia
View Profile
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2008, 07:25:59 pm »
Ignore

Thanks for your replies.  From an outsiders viewpoint it just seems like a massive commitment of time and money and I'm amazed everyone's not completely fed up with it all by election day!  And for the candidates who don't make it to the line, like Hillary Clinton, I'm left wondering how the spending on her candidacy can be justified.

Over here the leaders of our political parties are selected behind closer doors by the elected representatives of the party, and leadership can change at any time - although it's normal for a Prime Minister (our President) to serve his full term and for an opposition leader to at least be in place for 18 months or so.   Our elections are held every 3 years with the precise election date being set by the government of the day, and election campaigns run for 6 weeks only.  We don't have anything like Primaries.

As you can see, quite different!
Logged
Robespierre's Jaw
Senator Conor Flynn
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 8512
Ireland, Republic of


Political Matrix
E: -4.90, S: -8.35

View Profile
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2008, 07:50:45 pm »
Ignore

Welcome to the forum. Glad to see some more Australians on this forum Smiley
Logged



Here's to the State of Richard Nixon

Some things are better left covered up.
Jacobtm
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3054


View Profile
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2008, 07:56:10 pm »
Ignore

Individual contributions are capped at $2,000 to a specific candidate.

Obama pledged to accept public financing (if the Republican did) before he became the nominee, but eventually declined, largely because he realized he could raise much more money than McCain could.

But with our system, public financing doesn't kick in until candidates are officially nominated by their parties; this happened at the end of august/early september. So while Obama and McCain were both clearly their parties' nominees for months before public financing was even an option, they both continued to operate on what people donated to them.

In this time, it became clear that Obama could raise much more money than McCain, and so he opted to break his pledge and use his fundraising advantage. Now, largely because of the incredible organization he's built with it, he's set to win many states that previously seemed unlikely to go Democratic.

The reason Obama was able to raise so much more money than McCain was because MANY donors gave him small amounts. Many of these donors continued to contribute, $50 at a time as they could. More people were willing to give Obama money than were willing to give to McCain, so Obama had much more money.

But even though McCain has accepted public financing, this doesn't REALLY limit the amount of money he can spend. His personal campaign has its limit, but the Republican National Comitte can still run ads on his behalf, and the RNC is not limited in how much money it can raise/spend. Beyond that, any independent organization can run ads supporting a candidate for President.

I prefer our system of campaign finance over ones with strict controls on spending, because in this situation, the candidate that more people are willing to give to is the candidate with more money. What's wrong with that?
« Last Edit: November 02, 2008, 08:00:48 pm by Jacobtm »Logged

Why do so many people here cheer on war crimes?
Israel and the United States "killing dozens of civilians with explosives", as you phrase it, has, throughout history, almost always been a good thing.
nessjez
Newbie
*
Posts: 3
Australia
View Profile
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2008, 08:23:35 pm »
Ignore

I guess what's wrong with it is that the candidate with the most support should get the most votes, not the most money.
Logged
Jacobtm
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3054


View Profile
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2008, 08:53:51 pm »
Ignore

I guess what's wrong with it is that the candidate with the most support should get the most votes, not the most money.
Look at it this way.

Say I support candidate X and I want to help get him elected. Is it OK if I talk to my neighbors and encourage them to vote for X?
Is it OK if I spend ALOT of time doing this, even meeting strangers and encouraging them to vote for X?
What if I wanted to buy the supplies necessary to craft signs, t-shirts, buttons, stickers etc. showing my support for my candidate?
If some of my friends/neighbors can't drive and live far away from a polling place, would it be OK for me to spend election day driving everyone like this to and from the polls to help them vote?

Would any of that be wrong? I don't think so.

But let's say that I live in a non-competitive state. It doesn't matter what I do in NY, because NY's electoral votes are going for the Democrat anyway, and candidate X has no shot here. I want to help, but I can't just move to a competitive state for the election season.

Or maybe I'm incredibly busy at work/school. I would love to take time to do everything related to getting out the vote, but I just don't have the free time.

But I do have money.

So I donate money to candidate X, and his campaign uses that money to do all the same things I would do on my own. It costs money to print yard signs. It costs money to hire people to go around their neighborhoods and encourage people to get out and vote. It costs money to get people to stand outside all day and encourage unregistered voters to register. It costs money to do everything a campaign needs to do to win.

So if volunteering your time is OK, but you don't have time or the ability to volunteer, what is wrong with enabling others to volunteer so that your will can still be expressed?

Really, volunteering and giving away money are the same thing. Usually you work for a salary, but in the case of volunteering, you work for free, you forfeit the money you could've made because your candidate is more important to you. In the case of donating, instead of sacrificing potential earnings, you're just sacrificing realized earnings. Both is a free gift to your candidate.

And even if candidates' spending was capped, Obama would still have a huge advantage over McCain in this election because of the extra enthusiasm of his volunteers. Obama has WAY more volunteers operating out of WAY more field offices than McCain does. Take the money out of it, and McCain STILL is disadvantaged because Obama's volunteer force dwarfs his.

So then, for fairness' sake, should volunteering be regulated? Should each campaign be capped in the number of volunteers they can have? Should the state appoint x number of workers to each campaign and limit the volunteering activity of anyone else?

« Last Edit: November 02, 2008, 09:00:50 pm by Jacobtm »Logged

Why do so many people here cheer on war crimes?
Israel and the United States "killing dozens of civilians with explosives", as you phrase it, has, throughout history, almost always been a good thing.
cannonia
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 961
United States


Political Matrix
E: 7.42, S: -1.30

P
View Profile
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2008, 09:42:47 pm »
Ignore

Money just doesn't buy the election.  Ron Paul's money this year did not get him nominated, and a succession of California millionaires have gone down in flames in gubernatorial races.

And that money goes back into the economy anyway.
Logged
Jacobtm
YaBB God
*****
Posts: 3054


View Profile
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2008, 11:15:55 pm »
Ignore

Money just doesn't buy the election. 
But it certainly does help, and it's a positive thing that candidates who appeal to many voters are rewarded with extra money to make campaigning that much more effective.
Logged

Why do so many people here cheer on war crimes?
Israel and the United States "killing dozens of civilians with explosives", as you phrase it, has, throughout history, almost always been a good thing.
Pages: [1] Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  


Login with username, password and session length

Logout

Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines