(.why not cut out the middlemen…and just give it directly to the voters instead?)

Ever since the Supreme Court pronounced that corporations or business entities were “people” (juristic as opposed to natural persons), that opened up the floodgates for massive money flows into political campaigns of one kind or another, but especially so for any presidential campaign where the cost for one of them is now computed to be well into the Billion Dollar bracket.

There are some who thus believe that our American democracy is now headed to hell-in-a-hand basket…if not doomed altogether…and that the corrupting influence of such a volume of campaign funding will be the cause of that.

Of course we shouldn’t forget that none of this is new…just the method and style of it. As far back as the earliest election cycles in this grand republic of ours candidates for public office, especially for the presidency, vied fiercely with each other by making offerings of food and booze at their political rallies. The ones who had the best offerings in terms of free lunches and free flowing quantities of booze, usually got the votes.

Over time, of course, all of that was considered just too damned blatant, gauche, and just too uncouth, for an erstwhile virginal democracy like ours…so laws were passed to end such practices… prohibiting any signs of booze within sniffing range of any polling place…or attempting to exert undue influence on voters with any kind of last minute campaign handouts anywhere near these, and even too close to the actual election day itself. If we recall correctly, many of those restrictions remain in place today.

Which may explain why …money…has become the alternative of choice these days. The only problem with it is that none of the voters get any of it. It all goes out to pay for high-priced political “consultants”, massive floods of mind-numbingTV ads, bales of campaign handouts, leaflets, buttons, appearances on talk-shows, and any other gimmick candidates and their handlers can come up with to spend all those generous “contributions” from deep pocket individuals, PAC’s, or whomever. In short…nothing has really changed from those good old days of free lunches and booze…other than giving the national economy the equivalent of a booster shot in the butt every four years.

Frankly, we think it would be much better if instead of pissing away all those campaign funds that way, we should change the rules back to a variation of the old style. But instead of free lunches and booze…since money now makes our political carousel go round…let’s cut out all those middlemen and allow presidential candidates to just give it directly to all registered voters who actually show up at a polling place in person to vote instead (tax exempt of course). And the candidate offering the most generous payola that way…could thus win the popular vote.

We think such an approach would not only assure at least 95% turn out on Election Day, but would nullify any corruptive influences those massive money flows might have. Here’s why: while voters would be allowed to accept such payments from ALL candidates, regardless of party, they would not be obliged to actually vote for any of them. They would still be free to vote for whomever they wished. No one would really know what the results would be until all the votes were in and counted. And since the Electoral College tally derives from the popular vote (either as a percentage split or winner-take-all…depending upon the state), the democratic process would still be preserved inspite all those money flows.

We would add one more thing here…let’s eliminate absentee, early, or any other voting gimmick. Election Day should be just that…Election Day. Everything should shut down for the occasion, and everyone qualified and registered to vote should be required to show up in person…or face a penalty for not doing so (collectable by the IRS at tax time). Expatriates would have to show up at the nearest Consulate to cast their votes, overseas military personnel would vote at special polling facilities set up at their bases. Only police, fire, and EMT personnel on duty for that day would be allowed to vote absentee. Employers would be required to shut down as if for a national holiday, and pay their employees regular pay for their absence, if they turned in their receipt from whatever polling place as proof they had actually…voted.

If that wouldn’t revive America’s decrepit political process, make it a much more democratic one, and assure the republic’s continuing existence into the future…nothing will.