Briefing Paper No. 78 November 20, 2002

Briefing Paper

This Is Reform?
Predicting the Impact of the New Campaign
Financing Regulations

by Patrick Basham

Patrick Basham is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute's Center for Representative Government.

Executive Summary

McCain-style campaign finance regulation is the new campaign reality. But what exactly will this reformist utopia look like? Assessing the "reformed" campaign of the future against the stated desires and expectations of the principal campaign finance regulators and their media supporters, this paper predicts the most important changes in political campaigning, changes that will be experienced for the first time during the 200304 electoral cycle. Those changes include the following:

Overall, the allegedly reformed campaign of the future will be less competitive, less controlled by candidates and their parties, and more influenced by the mainstream media and will involve fewer voters than the typical campaign of today. Most Americans support real campaign finance reform, but clearly this is not the future promised to them by the self-described reformers.

Full Text of Briefing Paper No. 78 (PDF, 8 pgs, 67 Kb)

2002 The Cato Institute
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