A new ballot initiative proposed in the State of California would, if passed, force politicians to display the names of their biggest campaign contributors directly on their clothing, not unlike the jumpsuits worn by racecar drivers.
The ballot initiative, written and submitted by California citizen John Cox, has the unsexy title of “Name All Sponsors Candidate Accountability Reform Initiative.” But don’t let the weird name fool you. If enacted, this bill would be a huge leap forward for campaign finance reform… quite possibly the biggest in any State in the country, actually.
The radical new law would require candidates in the State of California to identify their top ten donors in all of their advertising, while politicians themselves would need to prominently display the names of their top ten donors on their clothing via stickers or badges, doing so in a way that is clearly visible for any member of the public watching them conduct official business from home or on television.
Sadly, the law would only apply to State officials in California, but if a law like this could somehow be passed at the Federal level, however unlikely as that is, it would forever change congressional and presidential elections in major ways, and all for the better.
If that law went into effect at the federal level today, we’d see that Hillary’s biggest campaign contributors include corporations like Morgan Stanley, Time Warner, and Bank of America, while Bernie Sanders’ supporters would learn that yes, he does in fact take money from corporations, though in much smaller amounts than Hillary (Google’s Alphabet Inc., Microsoft, Apple, and Amazon are among Bernie’s biggest campaign contributors).
Such a law at the federal level would, if enacted properly, strip the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and other big-money right-wing contributors of most of their power. Defense contractors and oil companies would also not be all too pleased by the new law.
Campaign finance reform is the silver bullet that can fix every other thing Americans want to see fixed. Universal health care, universal college education, stricter gun control, solving climate change… these are all populist agendas, and campaign finance is the number-one hurdle the country needs to overcome in order to see serious, lasting changes in each of those fields.
Here’s hoping John Cox’s California ballot initiative succeeds. And maybe, if we’re lucky, it’ll be successful enough that people start demanding it for the government as a whole.