Seth Grossman


Numerous dysfunctions plague the current system of campaigns and threaten the proper operation of the democratic process in the United States. The cost of mounting a campaign with any chance of success has risen dramatically over the past thirty years, largely driven by the skyrocketing costs of political advertising on broadcast television stations. These advertisements are the primary means through which candidates communicate with voters, particularly as broadcast stations consistently reduce the amount of free news coverage they offer candidates and campaigns. The ever-increasing cost of the most widely used tool for communicating with voters has a powerfully harmful effect on the healthy operation of the democratic process: Challengers, who typically have access to less fundraising resources than incumbents unless they are personally wealthy, often cannot raise sufficient funds to purchase the amount of advertising necessary to mount an effective campaign. Consequently, voters receive less of the information they require to be aware of candidates, evaluate them, and make informed decisions. Voters are left without a choice-either in effect, because challengers do not have enough resources to make voters aware of their candidacies and ideas, or in fact, because potential challengers are deterred from even entering a race as a result of their lack of resources.'

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