in the year 2020 Election
for the Office of President of the United States
a/k/a The National Campaign for Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

The National Campaign

A Campaign Financing Challange from Drew Kopf
Budget
Candidates
Constitution of the United States
Links of Interest
List of Presidents of the United States
Major Initiatives
Map of the United States
Oath of Office
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Ruffles and Flurishes & Hail Columbia
Ruffles and Flurishes & Hail to the Chief
Rules of Running
State-by-State Progress
Time Line
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Vice Presidential Candidate
Wasted Vote Theory
What it will take to win
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A Campaign Financing Challenge from Drew Kopf to all other Candidates for Political Office and for the Country as a Whole.

Add it up. How much money will be raised and spent by political candidates running for office in just the next year; between now (February 2007) and November 2008; just twenty-one months or so. If each candidate for president raises $20,000,000.00 on average that would be in the neighborhood of $300,000,000.00 if there are a total of 15 candidates on both sides of the aisle and some non-mainstream party candidates. And that’s not to mention the Political Action Committee funds that get raised and spent on behalf of the various candidates that does not get factored into the candidates actual financial figures, but which surely gets factored in if and when their “guy” or “gal” gets in.

Now, if we start adding in the number of candidates for the 11 state gubernatorial seats, and the number of candidates for the 33 United States Senatorial seats, and the number of candidates for the 435 United States Congressional seats all being contested on November 4, 2008, the figures approach a billion dollars. No? Okay, how much? You tell me. But, it’s a lot. And, contest those figures or not, everyone, even the candidates themselves say that the numbers and the system that allows for if not actually encouraging such a financial frenzy is way way way out of control. But no one is doing anything about it; certainly not any of the mainstream party candidates; nor any of the incidental parties or any of their candidates and the only independent candidates we see or hear anything about are all “kagillionnaires” who don’t need to raise money but spend whatever they want to spend to raise the stakes all the more.

I offer the following solution, which I believe is well within the power of the electorate to insist upon, well within the country’s capabilities to endorse and to support and well with in the capabilities of any candidate for any office in the land to respect, commit to and insist upon adhering to even when and if the race in which they are running starts to get tough.

If you just had a private thought that sounded something like, “If there were half a chance for whatever this guy is about to suggest to be practical, I’d like to see it come about”, then, sir or madam, there may still be hope for you yet. You are probably secretly or not so secretly repulsed by if not embarrassed by the obscenity of the state of campaign financing in our country.

The real foundation of the money game of politics comes down to power. Candidates take money and make a note as to just how much came for whom and how much from all his cronies, so that if and when the candidate wins, the guys who gave will be up for some kind of special treatment as a reward for greasing the way. That special treatment may come in the form of a political plum job, a nomination to a post, a contact for a million widgets, or even as simple as fixing a traffic ticket. People and companies, and remember companies are owned by people, want that power so much that they often bet on all the horses in the race so that no matter who wins they’ll have made their donations so they can apply pressure later on. The entire “favor” thing is disgraceful in my opinion, but it is clearly “the coin of the realm”.

My challenge is “back to basics” easy. Since once the campaigning begins, the candidates do very little else other than campaign related things, I suggest that we have all candidates for each office meet at the same venue at each meal of every day Monday through Friday and at those venues they meet and greet before and after the meal and during or directly after the meal they debate the issues in fair and open forum. Those attending would not be hand picked supporters but members of the communities.

Every session would be transmitted live in real time with no delays on a separate television channel reserved expressly for that particular contest so that every one and anyone could watch and listen to the candidates speaking preferably without notes save for very technical things to which they feel they may need to make reference. The sessions would also be recorded for “on demand” availability to anyone who has access to a computer, a television or a radio.

The weekends would be reserved for family time for the candidates. No formal debate sessions would be held. Appearance by the candidates at public functions on weekends would also be taped and archived for access by the electorate. The use of everything in the way of “paraphernalia” such as bumper stickers, posters, signs, ads, parades, loud speakers, TV commercials, and the like would be considered to be in bad taste and shunned. Interviews on TV or radio would include the candidates together in such a way as to allow them to speak to the points of the broadcast personality but not to allow soft balls to be thrown to one and hard balls to the other. The air waves belong to the people. We can insist that broadcast be used in this way to the benefit of the people rather than to permit the mind manipulating farce that has been the way of campaigning for far too long.

Will any other candidates get to read this challenge? I’ll be emailing their supporters a link to this page. I’ll send it out to the media. But, the media stands to loose tons of dollars if the challenge is accepted. It is doubtful if any one in the media would publish my ideas on this matter. But, if you like the ideas, you can move on it. Let’s see what we are all made of. Let’s see if the challenge I propose gets reiterated to candidates by others across the country. Take the idea and run with it. Right now, with this idea on the table, there is for the first time perhaps since the days of the Lincoln Douglas Debates a chance for the citizenry to get to really know their leaders before they lead them astray.

The eyes are the windows to the soul. So, no more cue cards, no more notes, no more teleprompters; just give us the facts as you know them and speak your mind so we can really get to know you. Those will be our sub-texts to the candidates soliciting our vote and our support. Now, that’s my challenge. Any takers?