Republicans understand that the Elizabeth Warren candidacy poses real problems for them in Massachusetts so they are going to great lengths to try and neutralize her star-power and street appeal before she’s even the official challenger to Sen. Scott Brown. The result may be one of the best things that’s happened to the electoral process since Citizens United.
Both Brown and Warren have agreed to moves aimed at dissuading outside groups from pouring millions into the state by creating a financial penalty on the candidate who benefits from the presence of such “dark money.”
The latest proposal offered by the Warren camp includes a provision that has the campaign that benefits from dark money ads making a charitable contribution worth half of an ad’s cost, closes loopholes and limits outside “sham” ads if a group falsely claims to be a supporter.
Make no mistake about it, limiting outside spending is as much a benefit to Brown as it is to Warren. In fact, it may be a bigger benefit to Brown since Warren’s campaign has become a flashpoint for progressive groups and spending intent on winning the Senate seat back and sending a genuine advocate to Washington.
More importantly though, it shows the power a principled challenger can bring to an election. Plenty of politicians pearl-clutch over the impact of Citizens United but complain that they are helpless to do anything about it. Brown and Warren have shown that in the short-term that is simply not true, and it is the citizens of Massachusetts who will truly benefit most.
Photo from david_shankbone via flickr.
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