There is one, and only one, fair and democratic way to regulate political campaign support. It can be expressed very simply:
A candidate for office may accept campaign support from individual constituents only, and only individual constituents may offer campaign support to a candidate. Support may not exceed ten times the minimum wage in value per donor.
In case that statement is not explicit enough, it should be supplemented with three definitions: “campaign support” is any direct or indirect gift of money, goods, or services intended to support a candidate’s campaign; “individual” is one human being; and “constituent” is any person, other than the candidate, who is fully qualified to vote for that candidate.
The implicit and explicit ramifications are in stark contrast to the current regulations. Support from corporations, PACs, or any other groups or organizations would be banned. Out-of-state donors (for example) would be unable to support in-state candidates. All campaigns would start from zero; candidates could not use personal assets for their campaigns.
This regulation would allow anyone to campaign for office; it completely levels the so-called playing field. Campaigning would be forced toward the grass-roots level. The formation of additional parties would be easier, and their viability would be enhanced.
Most of all, and for the first time in many generations, this regulation would do much to ensure that political candidates actually represent the people who vote them into office–a situation entirely missing today.
Waking from this pleasant dream, I immediately recognize how great a fantasy it is: campaign funding reform can be enacted only by the current legislature, none of whom would be willing to forego the huge amounts of money that they currently get from wealthy organizations and individuals. There will be no reform.