Election 2020

Gillibrand Proposes Giving Every Voter $600 To Donate to Campaigns

The Democratic senator and 2020 presidential hopeful calls it her "Clean Elections Plan."

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In her first major policy proposal of the 2020 presidential election, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D–NY)—a long shot candidate for the Democratic nomination—is suggesting that every voter be given $600 to donate to federal election campaigns. Affectionately named "Democracy Dollars," she says the taxpayer-funded venture will clean up elections and "attack the corrupting influence of money at its core."

All eligible voters would qualify for the lump sum, which would then be doled out in $200 payments for each individual's House, Senate, and presidential candidate of choice.

"If you want to accomplish anything that the American people want us to accomplish — whether it's healthcare as a right, better public schools, better economy — you have to take on the greed and corruption that determine everything in Washington," she told NBC News.

Gillibrand says she'll finance her plan by eliminating a tax loophole for CEOs—which, between the various nominees, is starting to sound like a cure-all for society's ills. Those making more than $1 million or 25 times the median salary of their employees—whichever is less—would finance Democracy Dollars with $60 billion in additional taxes over 10 years, according to Gillibrand's plan.

The Democratic senator references Seattle as her inspiration, whose Democracy Voucher program allots $100 to every eligible voter to donate in each municipal election. Yet the results of the program's pilot attempt in 2017 were that everything stayed pretty much the same: Only 3.3 percent of recipients participated, and the winning slate was dominated by incumbents and those backed by the establishment.

"When you say that we are going to allow public funds to go to candidates, voters are going to give the vouchers to people they are familiar with, they know, that they are comfortable with, and those are going to tend to be incumbents," Ethan Blevins, an attorney at the Pacific Legal Foundation, told Reason following the election. That's a far cry from Seattle's mission statement to elevate "more candidates, including women, young people and people of color, to run viable campaigns against big money candidates."

"By leveling the playing field of who's powering federal campaigns, my plan amplifies the voices of Americans who haven't been heard for too long — young people, women, and people of color," Gillibrand's plan reads.

Only candidates who refuse to accept individual contributions over $200 would be allowed to cash in on Democracy Dollars. The current limit is $2,800, which candidates could still opt to accept if they forego the publicly funded vouchers. While it seems unlikely that most candidates would relinquish that opportunity, Gillibrand tells NBC that she expects they'll do that, "because the potential of how much you could raise in this system is exponentially higher."

That wouldn't stop those same candidates from seeking big money support, though: Adherents to Democracy Dollars could still solicit help from super PACs, which Gillibrand's plan does not address. Although super PACs are barred from donating directly to a particular individual or party, they often spend enormous wads of cash to indirectly fund a candidate, often via advertising blitzes. They are under no spending limit when doing so.

But perhaps the more pressing issue here is a First Amendment one, as a small group of taxpayers would be forced to fund candidates, some of whom they would inevitably object to. Yet whether they disagree with them is almost beside the point: Gillibrand's plan is a form of compelled speech.

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  1. Well, sounds like I should put together a campaign team so I can take advantage of the government using violence to steal money from one group of people to give to me.

    1. Kirsten Gillibrand (I am quite sure!) will pay the $600 herself!!! So we’re all A-OK here!!!

    2. Why? Candidates can’t use it on themselves aside from some expenses. What this is a big giveaway to are consultants and media companies selling ad time

      1. Yes. To my brother’s media consultation firm.

      2. You could get one John Edward’s haircut (illegitimate child not included)

        1. hey, you get a haircut like that, and the illegitimate children start popping up everywhere, all by themselves.

  2. I announce my candidacy for president. I’ll just short the IRS the $600.00. I’m sure that will work for them.

    1. Great idea – I’ll do the same! I’ll campaign for 1-day work weeks, free food, housing, medical care, college tuition, cell phones, cars, and Viagra! I’m a cinch to win!

  3. These Democrats are dumb as a bag of dicks.

    Taxpayers pay too much in tax schemes like this.

  4. Rather than force taxpayers to fund candidates they do not like (every other dollar than the 600 they get), how about just outlaw all campaign contributions? The theoretical need for all that loot is to enable politicians to get their message to the voters. That can be done with the FEC website. Give each candidate a certain number of pages, and require that there be no editing whatsoever of what they put up. Now the whole country know what they want to say. No need for a campaign warchest. Most web browsers can read to the visually impaired. Those without web access can read about it in the traditional print media, or see/listen to broadcast/cable outlets. Using the currently popular ‘nudge theory’, just define ‘news organizations’ as those who provide the exact message without comment or modification or explanation. Should any outfit (CNN etc) not do so, they lose the press pass.

    1. Uh…..

      Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

      Ok, your proposal didn’t violate the establishment of religion clause of the first amendment. So that’s a start. And the right of assembly doesn’t seem to be too badly trampled either.

      Other than that….?

      1. What part of my proposal indicated any restrictions on anything other than bribing politicians?
        You as an individual can still say what you wish, buy ads, whatever. Even if the ‘you’ is a corporation. You can make up signs saying that the world will end in 10 or 12 (or a billion) years and wander around the mall. I do not say the ‘press’ cannot continue to print or electronically disseminate propaganda as they do now. No money is required to petition for redress.
        All I said is that technology has eliminated the excuse of politicians for grabbing money on the pretense it is necessary to get their message out.

        1. Yeah “the press” (aka Democrats with bylines), will surely be unbiased as they tell us every Republican candidate is Hitler and every Democratic Candidate was Jesus Christ himself (that is if we believed in Jesus Christ).

    2. This. A “level playing field”.

    3. Exactly. Every candidate gets 2,000 written words, a 10-minute video, and a link to their Wikipedia page so we can read about their life and lack of accomplishments.

  5. Only candidates who refuse to accept individual contributions over $200 would be allowed to cash in on Democracy Dollars.
    That’s fine. All my donors give cash donations under $200 at a time.

    1. In small denomination, unmarked, bills please.

      1. You forgot non-sequential.

    2. Isn’t that “structuring”?

  6. “attack the corrupting influence of money at its core.”

    Ugh, this actually makes me think less of Gillibrand.

    As a Koch / Reason left-libertarian (as opposed to a garden variety progressive) I welcome money in politics. I think it’s fantastic that so many billionaires spend millions of dollars to shape policy to their liking — especially since so many billionaires agree with me on immigration.

    1. Progressive Libertarian???
      WTF?
      please hustle back over to the Huff Post where you belong

      1. You must be new here.
        OBL’s best hashtag ever was
        #LibertariansforAOC

    1. so taking money from taxpayers and giving it to Politicians for their campaigns is good why?

      1. You’re, like, not even actually reading what people are posting, are you?

        1. No at that point in the evening that was an effort to remember what hotel in what city? All the while trying to figure out my Medicare supplemental.

  7. And if you elect me as your President, I pledge to increase the amount to $1200 that you can donate to campaigns!!

  8. Stop trying to fund yourselves from the treasury, you goons.

  9. Comrade Gillibrand:

    Please deposit your $600.00 into my checking account. I want to buy some LSD and MDA.

  10. Give every tax payer a $600 refund to donate to the candidates of their choice. Or to buy beer, gas, guns, a big ass TV, gambling at the casinos, pay their rent/mortgage, a high class hooker…

  11. Didn’t Seattle try this already?

    1. Well, considering most of the Democrats platform this time around seems to be rehashed statist programs. Additionally, most of these programs have been tried at least once before with less than stellar results.

      1. “Additionally, most of these programs have been tried at least once before with less than stellar results.”

        Obviously, the wrong people were in charge or they didn’t try hard enough. Can’t be because their ideas suck, can it?

    2. From the article
      The Democratic senator references Seattle as her inspiration, whose Democracy Voucher program allots $100 to every eligible voter to donate in each municipal election.

      Yeah, that pretty much points out the problem. The Senator from New York is jealous of the free money and wants her cut.

      P.S. Bring back the “Preview’ button!!

      1. There are articles? Well, what do you know- you learn something new every day!

      2. and the “Edit” button

  12. By coincidence, me and some of my friends just decided to run for office, and to promote our candidacies, we’re all cosponsoring a barbecue for ourselves and our supporters. Just as soon as the Democracy Dollars check clears.

  13. The Democratic senator and 2020 presidential hopeful calls it her “Clean Elections Plan.”

    Because nothing says “clean elections” quite like funding campaigns with money confiscated from others.

  14. I wonder if 3rd parties can participate? Way back when, the $1 checkoff for presidential campaigns could be donated to a specific party. Libertarian Party never got a dime, even though thousands of members specified it.

  15. How about I run for office and give my ‘Democracy Dollar’ donors a 90% refund when I lose.

    With $200 cap per candidate, that’s $20 for me, $180 for you. Deal?

    1. Done. See you after the election. Which bar?

  16. So it seems the lower you are in the polls the crazier your proposals become. Right now Biden seems like a reasonable guy compared to the others.

    1. Biden IS a reasonable guy compared to the others.
      Which is pretty scary that a guy called “Crazy Joe” Biden is the sane one.

  17. You have to give them credit for having the balls to literally try and buy votes in the open like this.

    1. I think it takes more balls to give a tax cut to billionaires and then tell working-class voters that you’re actually buying their vote.

  18. CEO: I’ll invest these million dollars into this brilliant way to cure cancer.

    Nah, let’s steal them and give them to politicians instead so THEY can ensure that healthcare is a right.

    This is what happens when career politicians think so highly of themselves. What a moron.

  19. I will be running for President, the Senate and the House when this happens, the $600 dollars can go in my pocket then!

    1. No, it’ll go in my pocket, because I’ll become a full-time campaign consultant.

  20. […] Gillibrand Proposes Giving Every Voter $600 To Donate to Campaigns. […]

  21. A Republican should troll her and propose giving every American $600 toward the purchase of a gun.

    1. Why not $60,000 to every American, to buy a new SUV?

  22. Only candidates who refuse to accept individual contributions over $200 would be allowed to cash in on Democracy Dollars.

    But I get to donate *$600* under this scheme. WTF?

  23. So if I decide to support “None of the above” in all races, can I keep the $600?

  24. Sounds like no citizen will actually get a dollar.
    The federal government will keep all the money and pass it out, pretending to follow the wishes of the population, in whatever way it is defined to be expressed.
    Or maybe she REALLY means to give us $600.00 each, to be given back to candidates. That actually makes sense, because it will require the feds to get the checking account data for all Americans.
    The only drawback I see is that they will need a way to finagle this so the criminal border crossers can also donate.

  25. Progressives will keep fucking with the election process until they get the outcomes they want. (Actually, that just reflects the central value of progressives: fuck with everything and everyone to get their desired outcomes.)

    1. Fight for freedom’; punch a progressive.

  26. […] and 2020 presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.) yesterday proposed a plan to give every American $600 to give to politicians. Calling them “Democracy Dollars,” Gillibrand is trying to sell this as a way to give […]

  27. So the government will take $600 (plus administrative fees) from you at gun point, give you $600 back (keeping the baksheesh), but require you to hand it over to the scumbag of your choice?
    Where do the Ds find such shining examples of idiocy?

    1. They have like 20 of them so far. They’re not hard to find, apparently.

      1. Unfortunately, there’s actually around 100 million of them.

  28. I am announcing my candidacy, for the House, Senate AND Presidential elections. If you contribute your $600 to me, I promise I will send you $550 in cold, hard, cash. Vote for me, vote for cash now. Cold, hard cash now. A vote for me is a vote for cash now!

    1. It’s my money, and I need it now!

  29. […] donate in municipal elections. Although Gillibrand claimed her plan would increase participation, Reason reported only 3.3 percent of recipients of the vouchers participated in 2017 and the winning slate of […]

  30. I don’t really understand the point of Senator Gillibrand.

  31. […] donate in municipal elections. Although Gillibrand claimed her plan would increase participation, Reason reported only 3.3 percent of recipients of the vouchers participated in 2017 and the winning slate of […]

  32. $600 just isn’t going to get it done against those evil big corporate donations.

    Gotta be at least $500,000 per person.

    1. I like your plan. And I am available to advise and candidates how to run their political campaigns with the helicopter money windfall, for a small fee of course.

  33. WHY ARE YOU SPENDING THAT MONEY AGAINST YOUR INTERESTS?

    Democrats are mental.

  34. […] and 2020 presidential hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.) yesterday proposed a plan to give every American $600 to give to politicians. Calling them “Democracy Dollars,” Gillibrand is trying to sell this as a way to give […]

  35. […] donate in municipal elections. Although Gillibrand claimed her plan would increase participation, Reason reported only 3.3 percent of recipients of the vouchers participated in 2017 and the winning slate of […]

  36. Hmm, a new CZ75 B goes for $631. I’ve always wanted a CZ75 and I’m sure I could come up with the remaining $31.

  37. But who really thinks any money donated to any campaign makes any difference at all? Do you change your mind based on TV commercials? I change the channel, or develop a deeper dislike of the person being pushed. Anyone can go to Google or some superior search engine, find the candidate’s website and bio, and decide, without being swayed by 30 second ads or yard signs.

  38. Bitch wants to steal another $600 from me, pretend to give it to me, but require me to give it to a fucking politician?

    She’s as loopy as any of the women who fell for that criminal nut-cult her parents are mixed up in.

    -jcr

  39. Why is getting more people ‘involved’ seen as an improvement to how we elect our leaders? If they don’t care enough to get out and vote, how useful would their input be?

  40. Those who do not like any of the candidates, can they keep the cash?

  41. MONEY. Let’s see. Trump spent something under $1 billion, Hillary nearly double that. Let’s quadruple that amount for “lesser” elections and we get something around $10 Billion. Giving every one of 157 million voters means plugging $96 Billion into the electoral process.

    $96 Billion. No group of politicians in the entire world is worth of receiving that.

  42. […] might as well not exist, had another proposition a few weeks ago. Once again, it involved giving $600 in other people’s money (read: tax dollars) to every voter to spend on elections. Yes, this daft bint actually suggested […]

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