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Wayne Post
  • REGINALD NEALE: Campaign reform needed for any serious change to occur

  • Our votes are our only weapons in this war to restore democracy. We must withhold support from our legislators until they reform the electoral process. Vote in every election, and make every vote a protest — vote for a write-in or a third party candidate. Don’t perpetuate a flawed system by falling into the trap of voting for the least disgusting of two mainstream candidates.

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  • In a recent essay, Raymond Barend explained his proposal to reduce the size of Congress (Aug. 23). This is an interesting idea, but like many proposals to improve government, it can’t possibly happen without campaign finance reform.
    Dollars drive the current process. Those dollars come from individuals and corporations whose hands are firmly on the levers of power. Their goal is for you and me to be passive consumers of their merchandise, including their candidates for office. Most of their dollars are used to flood the airwaves with poisonous attack ads.
    Nearly two thirds of Americans oppose the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and other decisions that have effectively resulted in unlimited secret contributions to political campaigns. Eight of every ten Americans think there is too much money in politics, but too many of us still seem to accept the conventional wisdom that those who want to change this process are powerless and insignificant.
    Our votes are our only weapons in this war to restore democracy. We must withhold support from our legislators until they reform the electoral process. Vote in every election, and make every vote a protest — vote for a write-in or a third party candidate. Don’t perpetuate a flawed system by falling into the trap of voting for the least disgusting of two mainstream candidates.
    It is true that if protest voters are not evenly split between the two major parties, this strategy might transfer votes away from the candidate you would have reluctantly supported, giving the election to the candidate you detest. I think this is a risk worth taking. Suffering a candidate’s poor performance until the next election could energize disaffected voters, and could finally convince politicians that change is imperative. The alternative is to continue tolerating the incredible waste and dysfunction of contemporary elections.
    Your vote is crucial. No matter how many dollars they spend, politicians can’t get into office or stay there without our votes. History shows that when votes shift away from major-party candidates, legislators pay attention. It won’t happen overnight, but when enough of us take our outrage to the voting booth, the pressure for reform will become irresistible. Once we have legislators who are not beholden to campaign contributors, proposals like Mr. Barend’s will be able to get a fair hearing. You and I can make that happen. Instead of continuing to do what big money expects us to do, let’s make our vote count.
    Reginald Neale is a Farmington resident.
     
     
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