OP-ED | Connecticut’s Publicly-Funded Campaign System Is A Joke
Here’s one last poll I’d like to see the numbers for — how many Connecticut residents woke up Wednesday morning excited about four more years of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy?
Unfortunately for Republican candidate Tom Foley, it appears voters chose the devil they know (or is it the porcupine?) instead of the devil they didn’t know. Foley claimed he released an agenda that would move the state forward, but it was an anemic agenda at best with few details and no inspiration. It certainly wasn’t enough to convince voters they’d be better off under a Gov. Foley than they are now.
Woulda shoulda coulda.
So now what — what will four more years of Malloy mean? The few policy ideas Malloy tossed out — which were on his website, but I don’t remember him ever talking about them during a debate — were that he’d introduce universal pre-k to the state by 2019 and hand more state projects over to union labor.
Oh, and that he’ll keep doing what he’s done the past four years to stimulate the economy. Yikes. We’ll see if that means four more years of tepid economic growth.
The problem is, voters didn’t buy Malloy’s vision, because there wasn’t a vision. They just liked Foley less. Not a ringing endorsement for either candidate.
Not that Foley didn’t face formidable obstacles in his second race for governor, besides his own lack of political acumen — this state has proven its deep-blue bona fides once again as it resisted change at every level. Not one of the statewide races went to a Republican, while across the country Republicans cleaned-up, even in other deep-blue states.
There are some deeply entrenched systemic issues at work in Connecticut, not to mention the single-party dominance, which allows the Democrats to collect and spend gobs of money to maintain its hegemony.
Witness the demise of the state’s public campaign finance system.
When I say demise, I mean in spirit only, because in reality you’ll never see the politicians in Hartford let go of these tax dollars now that they have them. The power of incumbency is to perpetuate incumbency.
Like so many well-intentioned government programs, the state’s publicly funded campaign system sounds so good on paper, but in practice the program has left Connecticut worse-off, and has cost the state’s taxpayers millions in the process.
Think of the promises behind the law — cleaner government! Freer and more-open elections! More competition!
Ha. Ha. Ha.
Ask the third party candidates how they feel about the public finance system, or the Republicans who couldn’t meet the state’s high barriers to entry in the primary and general election.
It is full-blown hypocrisy for the Democrats to say they support clean and open elections and then behave the way they did this campaign cycle.
Look at newly-elected state Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr., who took money from the taxpayer-funded campaign system, then proceeded to spend hundreds of thousands more thanks to the state party.
He blamed his need for more money on the “Yankee Institute and a number of other organizations dump(ing) over $1 million in State Senate races…” in 2012.
Uh, no we didn’t. Outright lie. The Yankee Institute is a non-profit and gives no money to support or oppose political candidates during an election. By law, we can’t, and we don’t. Do you really think our friends who run the public sector unions would let us get away with something like that?
The public sector unions, on the other hand, spent millions in this year’s state elections. They are the only state contractors (and the largest state contractors at that) who are allowed to give money directly to the state party, instead of having to filter their money through the federal account like the other contractors.
Connecticut Forward, the Democratic PAC that sent the mailers that were challenged by Republicans, got $2.25 million from the Democratic Governors Association, and then another $900,000 from AFSCME, $500,000 from AFT, $500,000 from SEIU, and $10,000 from the Teamsters. That’s almost $2 million dollars from the unions just for this one PAC.
Money gets into politics for one reason — to influence.
I guess we know what Malloy is going to be doing for the next four years — working for the people who paid to put him there.
Suzanne Bates is the policy director for the Yankee Institute for Public Policy. She lives in South Windsor with her family. Follow her on Twitter @suzebates.
DISCLAIMER: The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of CTNewsJunkie.com.