Monday, September 10, 2007

It's the End of Clean Politics, As We Know It!

Every morning, as I drive to work, stuck in Chicago’s God awful traffic, I manage to get in a good hour or so of NPR into my mornings. I have been noticing a lot more focus on the upcoming primary election and rightfully so. After all, it isn’t every 4 years that there a completely blank slate for the White House. I mean really, this is worse than a blood bath at times with Republicans and Democrats playing dirty to get their parties’ endorsements.

Every election seems to be the most expensive election in the history of U.S. politics but it is even more ridiculous this year than it has ever been; every candidate has surpassed, by the millions, the amount of money they have raised for their campaigns and are fighting with everything they’ve got to get that precious nomination.

For example, Barack Obama, who, if elected in November 2008, can become the first African American president in the history of the United States or Hilary Clinton, who can become the first woman president, are hashing it out as the top two candidates from the Democratic side. Meanwhile, the Republicans will not be denied. Fred Thompson, yep the one and only Law and Order star, threw his name into the running field and the night of the Republican debates, Thompson not only appeared on the Tonight Show but he also aired his first commercial! Sneaky!

Really though, that isn’t the most ridiculous part of this race, believe it or not. Several states have successfully moved up their primaries to get face time from candidates. Traditionally, the Iowa Caucus kicks off the primaries and used to be held sometime in February but now that other states have moved their primaries up to JANUARY (yep, that’s right!), Iowa may have to move its election to DECEMBER.

What does that mean for us, as voters though? We can be looking a very LONG general election and campaign season. Keep in mind though, these states should be facing sanctions by the DNC and the RNC but both parties know that the election will be very tight and they need to have some of the key states at least. Oh, and did I mention the catch? Wait until you hear this one.

Under FEC regulations, donors are only allowed to contribute one during an election cycle annually. That means that donors can only give candidates money once a year and can only give certain amount. If the Iowa primaries happen in December, that makes candidates eligible to get more contributions from the same donors starting January because it’s a new year! Campaign contribution as we know it is probably going to be changed completely!

I think we’re playing with fire. I think the candidates are playing a very dangerous game with the American public which can either make someone a HUGE winner in all of this or all of them can fall flat on their faces and we have a repeat of the 2000 election where America did not know its leader for months. Scary isn’t it? My heart was pounding too.


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