Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Should The Democratic Party Pay for Presidential Debates?

A sharp disagreement is emerging between the liberal and centrist wings of the Democratic Party over how to address the wave of spending on presidential primaries and how it might affect the other Democrats’ races.

In November, at a meeting of the House Democratic caucus, California Representative Eric Swalwell reportedly took up the question of whether Americans should pick presidential candidates by spending tax dollars instead of voluntary donations.

Representative Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, the chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, later cautioned against this kind of policy, arguing that the parties should be able to spend what they want to as part of the process of picking the best nominee. “It’s important for the DCCC to make sure there is a financial burden on the major donors for our candidates to stand on,” Mr. Van Hollen said in a statement.

Representative Dwight Evans of Maryland told the Washington Post that it was a discussion worth having but no decision had been made, though a staff member said it would require such a spending cap to be truly enforceable. “Money should be the absolute top criteria in selecting a nominee,” he said.

Yet if it were to come to pass, the change could have a significant impact on the national party, and only those candidates who had the resources could take advantage of the change. And it would also change the dynamics of the Democratic Party primaries – and so even the most liberal or centrist of Democrats might pay attention.

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