Abstract Would “party-centered” campaign finance laws that channel money primarily through party organizations improve American politics? Scholars have long argued that political parties are essential mediating institutions in a democracy. Yet in comparison to other democracies, American campaign finance laws have been designed to be “candidate-centered.” Constraints on political parties have also created opportunities for interest groups to engage directly in campaigns in support of favored candidates and policies. The growing presence in elections of interest groups at the expense of formal party organizations thus has potential negative implications for the functioning of democracy. This paper explains what we know about the relationship between money, campaign finance laws, and political parties, with the goal of exploring whether party-centered campaign finance laws might improve elections, representation, and governing. Importantly, it emphasizes the need for new knowledge that may help in designing new campaign finance laws.
The Forum – de Gruyter
Published: Oct 1, 2013
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