2020 Democrat’s ‘Democracy Dollars’ Plan Would Redirect Money Directly to Politicians

I suppose one oughtn’t get too worked up about Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s “Democracy Dollars” proposal. Even the name sounds prima facie farcical, and it’s coming from a candidate who, given her inexorable slide, might or might not be polling behind Vermin Supreme in the next RealClearPolitics average.
That being said, there are so many things on the Democratic side of the 2020 presidential campaign that would be funny if they weren’t serious.
Not a single person who didn’t share the surname Gillibrand has paid attention to her campaign for quite some time now, and her proposal to give every American money to spend on political campaigns certainly seems to have caught people’s eye.
NBC News reported that the New York senator “unveiled a plan on Wednesday to give every voter up to $600 in what she calls ‘Democracy Dollars’ that they can donate to federal candidates for office.
“In an exclusive interview with NBC News to discuss the roll out of her first major 2020 policy initiative, Gillibrand said her ‘Clean Elections Plan’ would help reduce the influence of big money in politics. 
“‘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 said.”
The plan would cap individual donations at $200, but Gillibrand said politicians would buy in “because the potential of how much you could raise in this system is exponentially higher.”
“Under Gillibrand’s plan, every eligible voter could register for vouchers to donate up to $100 in a primary election and $100 in a general election each cycle, either all at once or in $10 increments to one or more candidates over time,” the NBC News report said.
“Each participant would get a separate $200 pool for House, Senate and presidential contests for a total maximum donation of $600 for those federal offices.” 
There was a moment of great surprise for me here inasmuch as no one in the media seemed to be willing to distill this plan down to its simplest (if most cynical) interpretation: Gillibrand is proposing that the government take money and funnel it directly to politicians, even if we decide which ones get it.
The whole point behind this is that since only 0.5 percent of Americans give to campaigns and they tend to be whiter and wealthier than the populace as a whole, Democracy Dollars (really, try saying that without laughing) will make the system more egalitarian.
“They would campaign in all communities,” Gillibrand said of Democracy Dollars recipients. “They would be going to low-income communities, they would be going to rural communities, they would be asking people to support them not only with a vote, but with (financial) support for their campaign.” 
“It will change who has a seat at the table and who gets elected in this country within one election cycle,” she added.
Beyond this pseudo-egalitarian prattle, however, is the fact “Democracy Dollars” would turn the entire campaign into one huge fundraising Persian bazaar. 
Gillibrand casts this program in the most civic-friendly possible light possible. Yet anyone who’s seen the misleading, demagogic, content-free fundraising emails that the small-donation revolution hath begat knows this probably won’t be the case.
If you’re already tired of these insults to deliberative democracy choking your inbox like ungrammatical weeds, just wait until “Democracy Dollar Dayz” arrive around the end of each fundraising quarter.
And there’s the rub, as well: Politicians wouldn’t be going to “low-income communities” and “rural communities.”
They’d be going to your inbox.
Except for getting votes, the very idea of passing the hat before small audiences in low-income or rural areas in order to get a few hundred dollars in sweet, sweet taxpayer-funded campaign donations already has been obviated by email, websites and other forms of electronic communication.
The campaign finance landscape would end up being every bit like it was before: Politicians pretending to care about poor and/or rural voters, voters who then go online and pour money into their coffers — except this time, it would be your money they’re pouring in, not theirs, and the only place it could be spent is at the Red Tape Inc. company store.
The good news is that Kirsten Gillibrand has almost no chance of ever shepherding a piece of Democracy Dollars legislation into law, given that she’s about as popular as E. coli.
But that’s where the seriousness of the plan comes in: Yes, Gillibrand may be as well-liked as a food-borne pathogen with Democratic voters, but the proposal seems to be a bit more voguish.
Given that there’s no copyright on campaign proposals, there’s certainly nothing stopping whoever wins the Democratic nomination from taking this idea and running with it.
After all, it checks all of the boxes for liberal policy proposals.
Undermining free speech? Check.
Taking your money? Check.
Giving it to politicians? Check-plus.
I’m sure it’ll be repackaged under a name less inane than “Democracy Dollars” (and tragically, I don’t think that “Bureaucracy Bux” will be in the running, either), but one can safely predict you’re going to be hearing about this plan for a lot longer than you’re going to be hearing about Kirsten Gillibrand’s candidacy.
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