Republicans Really Don't Want Campaign Reform
by Eddie Ruff
Ever wonder what so enamors Republicans to soft money?
It's not the nice bribery and corruption that comes with
the territory, the greed, the power, the fame, the perks.
The love from the biggest most powerful corporations on the
planet. As we all know, that gets spread around, albeit not
No -- it's the ads. No, not the party building ads, you know,
the ones soft money was supposed to support? The ones we are
supposed to be seeing in the short weeks before election that
supposedly "get out the vote" by spurring a slumbering populace
to show some "party spirit". The soft money loophole was OK,
I guess, as long as that's what the parties did with the money.
Show some patriotism! Vote (fill in the blank -- Democratic/Republican
etc.) on Nov. 5!
Well, we all know, that isn't how its worked. Soft money
has rather been channeled into intense back-stabbing smear
campaigns -- often in the last few days before the elections,
leaving the hapless candidate little time to counter the attacks.
In fact, smear ads have become so pervasive, voters are actually
turning away from politics. They are becoming more and more
cynical -- not only due to the headlines and news stories
they hear and read every day, but also due to these ads. The
main problem is the ads are flooding the airwaves just at
the time when people need to act despite their cynicism --
they need to know they have power to enact positive change
via the polls.
But some of us don't want positive change. Some of us like
smear ads. Some of us want a cynical, nonvoting populace.
Who are we? It isn't too hard to see... it's those of us who
want to keep the soft money flowing.
And, as we know, the biggest soft money fans are the Republicans.
They rail against campaign finance reform, calling the McCain-Feingold/Shays-Meehan
bills violations of our constitutional free speech. Since
the reform basically stops the soft money that supports the
smear campaigns just before elections, it is really easy to
connect the dots and see that it is the Republicans who wish
to maintain these odious tactics. The Democrats want them
to stop. Why?
Well, it would be all nice and flowery to claim that Democrats
tend to be more socially-conscious, and merely wish to encourage
more people to drop their cynical attitudes and come out to
the polls. Ostensibly, to make their voice heard, letting
the people speak and the chips fall where they may. Republican/Democrat/Independent/Green
Party/Libertarian... it doesn't matter WHO you vote for, just
Now, to some extent, this is certainly true. However, Democrats
know the secret. It's the same secret the Republicans know,
and I'm going to reveal it now.
You see, the more people who vote, the less chance Republicans
have of winning.
Why is this? Well, Republicans have a solid 30% base of stalwart
party-line voters, who are loyal to a "T" and vote, vote,
vote, no matter how many dirty rotten smearing campaign ads
they see and hear. They will still vote Republican even if
their candidate is accused of being a dwarf-tossing child-molesting
widow-raping tree-hugger. (Ooooo - tree hugger -- that's harsh!)
Democrats have a solid base as well... and guess what? It's
around 30%. This leaves approximately 40% of the population
as the all-powerful "swing voters". These are the ones who
decide elections. Unfortunately for the Republicans, they
tend to vote Democratic. Unless Ross Perot is running in 1992.
That is, when they vote. We can blame this trend on many
things... the Republicans love to target the "liberal media",
you know, the big 3 networks, the N.Y. Times, etc. etc. etc.
ad nauseum. I tend to believe the Democratic philosophy is
a bit more attractive to the common people, but then I'm biased.
The fact is, the population today is pretty evenly divided,
as evidenced by the 2000 elections.
Still, the best weapon the Republicans have to win elections
is to STOP the vote. STOP the general population -- the great
unwashed swing voters -- from getting to the polls. STOP the
uninformed non-affiliates from getting out and making the
mistake of electing maybe the wrong person. Don't inform them
on the issues. Don't espouse positive party philosophy. No
-- to STOP the vote you need to turn voters off. And the best
way to do this, time-tested and true, is to keep the smear
Voters don't like smear ads. No one does. They are dirty,
corrupt, and serve to make the population more cynical and
less active politically. Less likely to vote. And the less
voters, the less chance Democrats have of winning.
More voters equals more Democrats in office. Fewer voters
equals more Republicans in office. The secret is out.
I am of the opinion, but as I said, I'm biased, that more
voters is a good thing. I want more participation, and admittedly,
not just so we have a better, more informed and active society,
but also so the Democrats will win.
Speaker of the House Hastert hit it right on the money when
he stated that Shays-Meehan will cost Republicans seats. He
knows the secret too.
The best thing to come out of the whole deal? No more of
those disgraceful smear ads. The world will truly be a kinder,
The author has a B.A. in Political Science and is currently
attending law school in California.