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Should We Be Funding Politicians?

On Friday’s episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill Maher mentioned that despite the fact that Mitt Romney has a large unfavorable rating (even among Republicans) the race for President is pretty close. Maher took the news as vindication of his decision to donate one million dollars to the Obama campaign. But perhaps that money would have been better spent funding the cause of reason and/or funding issue based awareness as opposed to candidate awareness.

But what if the money that was spent on Democratic candidates focused on changing people’s opinions about particular issues or about how to think critically about the issues? This type of shift would leave individual candidates scrambling to find cheaper and more creative ways to get their message out, but the battlefield would be changing more to their advantage in the meantime. They wouldn’t have to make their case; they would just have to let people know where they stand on the issues.

I bring this up because in my congressional district the Democratic challenger entered the race late and I know nothing about the guy. I went to his website to find out where he stands on the issues and left his website no more informed. He listed a small handful of issues which he didn’t even articulate a clear position on. He could be a right leaning Democrat or a progress and I have no idea. For all I know, his positions could be the exact same as the Republican incumbent.

If he can’t even inform people about where he stands, how is he going to persuade people to change their position on an issue? Why would anyone fund this guy rather than fund the actual issues to set the ground work for the future? Donating to his campaign seems like a waste of money even if you think he is the better candidate. That money like the money Maher donated to Obama would be better spent funding campaigns for individual issues that are important to Americans.

Because of the two party system people who vote don’t usually vote based on the candidate anyway, but rather based on the political party. Dynamic candidates are bold and they can get their message across better, but that has less to do with money and more to do with style.

In the end, politicians come and go, but it is the issues that remain important from election year to election year. That is what we should be funding. Then politicians will be more vocal in their support for issues that more voters support. The key is to get more voters to support the best positions on the issues. That is where Maher should have donated his million dollars.

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