Editorial by Howie Hawkins, Counterpunch.org
HR 1, the 'For the People Act', is an omnibus voting reform bill that has many progressive measures concerning voter registration, voter roll purges, voter-verified paper ballots, early voting, no-excuse absentee ballots, presidential candidate tax returns, gerrymandering, and more. According to reports, the Democratic leadership will whip their members hard to pass the bill through the House and Senate in March.
But progressives should say not so fast. Buried in the middle of the bill is a public campaign finance program that is merely a public funding palliative that fails to stop the overwhelming domination of big private money in federal elections.
Progressives should be demanding full public funding based on equal grants for all qualified candidates and a constitutional amendment to end the US Supreme Court imposed doctrines that limit public regulation of campaign funding in public elections.
Instead, HR 1’s partial public campaign finance program based on matching funds merely adds a token patina of new public money on top of the swelling ocean of private campaign spending. The qualifying thresholds to access this presidential primary matching funds are increased five times, putting the program beyond the reach of third-party candidates. The 6:1 matching funds program for both presidential and congressional candidates increases the funding gaps between candidates by seven times...
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