Not providing public money to candidates does not harm democracy
Clean Elections Commission Executive Director Todd Lang said that the SCOTUS ruling that blocks the issuance of matching funds for this election cycle hurts both participating candidates (those taking the public money) and voters because now we won’t be able to hear “both sides of the story.” The result, he said, is a “real harm to our democracy.”
Lang is wrong about this. Does it harm democracy if you choose to run “Clean” but fail to qualify for the government cash? Is democracy threatened because Dean Martin hasn’t qualified for his $707,000? Or is democracy going to be okay because we all assume Martin will qualify eventually?
Lang might argue that there has to be some kind of threshold to qualify for public money, otherwise the state would have to fund everyone running for office. That’s right. The threshold is called the private marketplace. Do you have a message that people want to voluntarily support? If so, you might raise a few bucks. You might not. Either way, this is life. Just like no one is entitled to a high paying job, no candidate for office is entitled to a professional staff, survey research, a good press shop, or a single yard sign. Likewise, no one is entitled to one dollar to pay for these things.
You want a high paying job? Don’t go looking to the state to help you out. Same thing applies if you want to run for office.