A recent Politico article by Byron Tau, analyzing the increasing impact of Super PACs on the ability of state political party organizations to raise money and hence control the candidate selection process, raises an interesting question: Could Super PACs actually help efforts to reform state and local elections?
By supporting efforts to implement open, nonpartisan primaries or other reforms that lessen the importance of political party affiliation, local political leaders can reclaim the influence they are losing to these Super PACs.
In a top two, three, or four primary, shouldn’t a well-known local candidate do well against a candidate selected by an outside special interest group? If needed, party-favored candidates could register as independent candidates with state party endorsements. In a general election that uses instant runoff, approval, proportional voting, or any other non-plurality system, shouldn’t a candidate backed by local and state organizations do well against a Super PAC’s candidate?
In my opinion, the answer to both these questions is “yes.”
Many times, actions have unintended consequences or results. Perhaps the elimination of state political party organizations was one not anticipated by Super PACs. I’d wager that aiding the effort to reform the election process, reduce the importance of political parties, and return the focus back to real issues and solutions was definitely not considered. Wouldn’t that be something to behold?
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