Something completely different has occurred in the Massachusetts Senate race.
The PACs have been silenced.
When Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren and Republican incumbent Scott Brown agreed to attempt an outside spending ceasefire, most pundits and politicos were fairly skeptical. In the age of Citizens United, could two candidates really convince all the 501c4s, PACs, campaign committees and industry advocates to stay out of the race and not provide outside ads and other forms of campaigning?
Yet, a few months in, the shutdown appears to be working. According to the Washington Post, “An ambitious attempt to effectively bar attack ads by outside groups in the contentious U.S. Senate race in Massachusetts is showing signs of working, at least so far….Advertising by outside groups in the Massachusetts Senate race has nearly disappeared since the deal was reached, data show.”
As part of the so called “People’s Pact,” if either candidate benefits from outside advertising, then the candidate must donate half of the cost of the ad to a charity. It’s worked fairly well so far at shutting down the environmental, advocacy and political groups who had early on taken an interest in the race and promised to make it one of the biggest financial expenditures in the country.
Now, just imagine if the Republican and Democratic presidential nominees took the same “People’s Pact?” The multiple super PACs would be virtually silenced, and the unlimited money being pledged would go no where. Corporations, various interest groups and industries would have no ability to try and influence the election. The television would go mostly silent. And when a campaign ad attacks a candidate with no truth behind its claims, we would know exactly who to blame for the incident, cutting down the likelyhood of negative attacks.
Can we get the presidential candidates to agree to a “People’s pact,” too?
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