Congressional Stagnation in The United States - Proposed Solutions To The Increased Incumbency Advantage - The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act

The Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act

Further information: Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act

Prior to BCRA, the last major piece of campaign finance legislation was the Federal Election Campaign Act, which had been ratified in 1971 and amended several times, most recently in 1979.

BCRA was enacted with the pledge that it would break the stranglehold of money on the political process, make huge sums of money from limited donors the exception rather than the rule, and eliminate the corruption influence (whether real or only perceived) of such donations. From one standpoint it can be argued that the situation had already hit rock bottom in terms of stagnation, and that any reform would improve the current situation. However, there is an equally strong argument that BCRA will do very little to affect the congressional deadlock.

Having been tailored to focus on issue advocacy and big businesses, BCRA forfeited its chance to focus more on congressional stagnation. BCRA was more tailored to combat the seemingly irresistible rise of political soft money, whereas the structural problems in congressional stagnation lie elsewhere. The problems of an enlarged incumbency advantage are the results of a severe imbalance in hard money contributions to the candidates and is not a consequence of a sizable influx of soft money, or third-party issue advocacy. Given the huge advantages that incumbents have, some might say that political tools like soft money and issue advocacy would benefit the underdog challenger, as it could be potentially helpful to them, and could lessen the competition. It follows that any impediment to these alternative sources might prove to work contrary to the revitalization of the political process. BCRA can be seen a such an impediment, and this was why some opponents of BCRA had labeled it as an "incumbency protection act."

Read more about this topic:  Congressional Stagnation In The United States, Proposed Solutions To The Increased Incumbency Advantage

Famous quotes containing the words act, reform and/or campaign:

    Buttons: Clowns are funny people, Holly. They only love once.
    Holly: All men aren’t like that, even if they act like clowns.
    Fredric M. Frank (1911–1977)

    Both of us felt more anxiety about the South—about the colored people especially—than about anything else sinister in the result. My hope of a sound currency will somehow be realized; civil service reform will be delayed; but the great injury is in the South. There the Amendments will be nullified, disorder will continue, prosperity to both whites and colored people will be pushed off for years.
    Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822–1893)

    Now, Mr. President, we don’t intend to trouble you during the campaign but after you are elected, then look out for us!
    Susan B. Anthony (1820–1906)