Reviving American Democracy

Essay by AFWTKCollege, UndergraduateA+, November 2006

download word file, 5 pages 0.0

Although an estimated 59% of the voting age population voted in the 2004 election, the largest turnout since 1968 (Chart: "Voter Turnout"), Americans vote in smaller numbers than they once did. Many voters feel that their participation does not matter, while others simply do not like the way our electoral system is set up. Nonvoting in America is a result of the flaws in America's voting laws and electoral procedures and is a reflection of our troubled political system. The democratic political system in America is in poor shape and needs to be reformed in order to improve its health.

Full public funding of all presidential and congressional campaigns needs to be adopted in order to improve the functioning of America's democratic system. The Federal Election Campaign Act of 1974 did not go far enough in reforming campaign finance law. Federal campaign finance laws have not achieved their desired goal of limiting the influence of well-funded special interest groups and deep-pocketed individuals on elections.

Political parties and outside groups have taken advantage of loopholes in the law and, today, those with access to wealth have an advantage over the majority of Americans in influencing elections. Full public funding of all presidential and congressional campaigns would reverse the current dependence of candidates on a relatively small number of large donors. Candidates would be required to gather broad support from many individuals and would be forced to focus on the issues and the needs of their constituents, rather than fundraising (Nyhart and Claybrook 3). Even though full public financing might make the election system more fair, policy analyst Micah Sifry believes that it is "no panacea" and that big money "will still influence politics through lobbying, independent expenditures, [and] funding think-thanks...." (Sifry 20) Although, full public financing would not completely eliminate the...