Readers: this blog is set in the future (sometime after the year 2020). Each entry assumes there has been a 5th revolution in the US — the Revenge Revolution. More about the Revenge Revolution and author, Entry #1. List and general description of entries to date.

Note: most entries are formatted as conversations. Characters appear in a number of entries, with many entries building on previous conversations. Profile of characters (see link at top of page). You’ll catch on quickly. Thanks for your time and interest…and comments.

Scene: Jordan’s office, Washington, DC.  Conversation began Entry #289.

092615_2031_Characters2.jpgGreenie:  “Jordan, that’s quite a list of ideas about how to make America great again.  We’ve got to call this project something else but let’s not spend time on that now.  Which item on the list seems like a good place to start?”

JC:  “To me the idea of Federally funded elections seems feasible.  Don’t a bunch of other countries…maybe most other countries…fund elections?  So why can’t the US?”

Jordan:  “Alright, let’s think about what has to happen to make Federal funding a reality.”

Greenie:  “For sure Congress needs to pass some type of law, then appropriate the funds.”

092615_2031_Characters1.jpgJC:  “I’m no legal scholar…and no comments please…but it does seem as if there aren’t any real legal barriers.  Political barriers, yes, but not legal barriers.”

Greenie:  “What about the Citizens United case?  Does a law authorizing Federally funded elections trump the Supreme Court’s decision on Citizens United?”

Jordan:  “Any law mandating only Federal funding for Federal elections likely will be challenged in court and then head back to SCOTUS.  However, there doesn’t seem to be any glaring reason why a Federal funding law wouldn’t be upheld…thereby overriding the Citizens United ruling.  I just don’t see how such a law would affect 1st Amendment rights.  But like you, JC, I’m no Constitutional law scholar.”

House of RepsJC:  “Let’s say there’s no major legal issue.  Then how should Federal funds be allocated to the candidates?”

Greenie:  “There’s already a formula for allocation.  Maybe neither the most logical nor the most fair but one that’s clearly defined – the Electoral College.”

Jordan:  “Seems like a good place to start.  Assume that Congress allocated $10/person for federal elections.  The current US population is what 330 to 340 million?  Call it 340 million, so that means $3.4 billion is available to help fund federal elections.”

Greenie:  “Is that for presidential elections or off-year elections too?  Seems as if off-year elections should have a different number.”

JC:  “What about Senate races?  Senators are elected every six years, House members every two years.”

TurtleneckJordan:  “Good points.  Try this.  Presidential elections get the full $10/head funding.  Off-year elections get $5/head allocated.”

Greenie:  “So in a presidential election, the presidential candidates would get $1.7 billion and the House and Senate candidates would split $1.7 billion, right?”

Jordan:  “For the Congressional seats, I think we need to give candidates for the Senate more money that candidates for the House.  Other than a few low-population states, Senators have to cover a lot more territory than House members.  What if we gave the Senatorial candidates 2x the House candidates?”

Math ClassJC:  “Let me try the math.  If I remember Ester’s Algebra class, that would be 200X+435X=$1,700,000,000.  Using my hand-dandy phone, x equals almost $2.7 million.  So Senate races get about $5.4 million and House races about $2.7 million.”

Greenie:  “The numbers for Senate races seem low.  Maybe Senators should get 3x.”

JC:  “Did we decide if the amount of money was for each race or each legitimate candidate?”

Greenie:  “While we’re at it, what about funding primaries?  What about 3rd-party candidates?”

Jordan:  “We didn’t decide.  Assume the $10/head is for each candidate in the general election.  So the cost is now $20/head…plus the primaries.”

Greenie:  “I know I recommended using the Electoral College but there might be an easier approach.  Candidates for the House get say $5/head for everyone in their district.  Senators would get $5/head for everyone in the state.  Presidential candidates would get $5/head for everyone in the US.”

JC:  “What about the primaries?”

Greenie:  “Give each candidate ½ the amount of the general election — $2.50/head per candidate.  Whatever the general election number is, cut it in half for the primaries.”

SignatureJC:  “3rd-party candidates?”

Greenie:  “If the candidate can get signatures for x% of the registered voters…it has to be a reasonable percentage…then the 3rd-party candidate is entitled to the same funds.”

JC:  “Isn’t this idea getting awfully expensive?  We might be pushing $10 billion, maybe more.”

Federal BudgetGreenie:  “Now, JC, I mean really.  What’s a few billion in a trillion-dollar Federal budget – a rounding error?  I agree the approach seems expensive until you begin to add up all the hidden costs with today’s approach to funding elections…and all the backroom deals connected to the funding.”

Jordan:  “Point well taken, Greenie.  Part of the selling job for this idea will be to have a credible 3rd-party estimate the current cost of elections, including all the dark money.”

JC:  “Cost aside…and I agree even though it seems like a lot of money, the amount is really a rounding error…what I like about the approach is forcing candidates to be more judicious with their spending.”

occupations_lawyerGreenie:  “Because funds will be limited, the approach will likely also force candidates to get out on the campaign trail and meet the voters.  Maybe we’ll get fewer negative ad blitzes and more time on the campaign trail.”

JC:  “You think this approach will eliminate lobbyists?”

Jordan:  “Probably not.  I don’t have a problem with lobbyists per se.  Some are actually very helpful.  What seems to set people off is how certain Congressman force lobbyists into a pay-to-play game.”

gangster-cartoon-clip-art-540pxGreenie:  “Oh, you mean like South Carolina’s Mick Mulvaney?  What chutzpah.  He bragged to a group of bankers that before he became part of the Trump Administration, he only talked to lobbyists who paid him.  Wonder if he stopped the practice when he became director of OMB and consumer protection bureau for Trump?  Pardon me — that seems like a rhetorical question.”

JC:  “I think the Revenge Revolution forced out most of the Mulvaney-like extortionists.  A new approach to funding Federal elections should keep too many new ones from popping up…at least for a while.”

Jordan:  “Alright, we seem to have the framework for Federal funding of Federal elections.  Obviously the plan needs a lot more refining, but the idea seems feasible.”

Greenie:  “Agreed.  And if you both agree, I need a break.”