Going forward from the most disgusting election campaigns in the lifetime of most living Americans, and quite possibly ever since the establishment of our nation, there are many possible fixes that could get us back on track as the world leader in human rights, democratic principles and protection of the downtrodden, needy and subservient peoples of less developed nations. But most of all, those fixes need to be implemented here, in the US, or our own future could be a bleak as that disgusting confidence man of the ages d trump says the country is now. While a total overhaul of campaign finance laws is vitally needed, taking ALL private money out of elections with all elections publicly financed with candidates put on equal footing regardless of wealth or fundraising prowess, and while some method of shortening election campaigns to a reasonable time period such as occurs
in countries like the United Kingdom should also be an election reform goal, perhaps the most important reform is a consummate, pervasive, federal and state reform effort to require total, absolute TRUTH in ALL campaign advertising.
If they wanted to do it, states could implement it and if they wanted to do it, Congress could do it on a federal level. It would take four elements, and each would have to be absolutely required by law, with significant, overpowering sanctions for breeches.
We’ve all seen the disgusting ads run day and night in the national election. but on the local level, some political advertising has been even worse. Nationally, Democrats and other supporters of Hillary Clinton know that nothing coming forth from the trump campaign is worth having a heart attack over – it is a given that trump ads are lie piled upon lie, disgustingly deceitful, meant to further rally their own base, but that will have little if any impact on Hillary supporters. But on local races where the candidates are much less well known, serious hit pieces can have a major impact. We saw that here in West Covina, CA in the 2015 City Council election when the public safety unions, unhappy over new contract negotiations piled a ton of money into a totally fraudulent and deceitful campaign of lies about our then mayor, who then failed in his re-election bid.
The one ad campaign that has most struck me over the past several weeks has been a thoroughly disgusting campaign of lies and phony inferences made by the gop candidate for the state senate seat in California’s 29th Senate District, against her Democratic opponent. The Democrat running is Josh Newman, but I will not name his miserable opponent whose vile campaign, even in today’s everything goes backdrop, has had TV
So, what needs to be done and what can be done? “Can be done” is the hard part, but “need to be done” is easy. It should be a four part process:
1. All political campaigns must be required to state only verifiable facts in their advertising, and in ALL forms of their advertising, be it mailers, door-hangers, or TV ads. This must relate both to the accomplishments and credentials of the candidate him or her self AND to all allegations made about any opponent;
2. All allegations of merit about the candidate and all allegations made for the purpose of discrediting an opponent would be required to have included as backup material documented verification of the truth of all such allegations. So, if a candidate says he made $500 Million in 2014, he would HAVE to include his federal tax return as evidence. If he said he was a Major in the US Army and received the Bronze Star, he would HAVE to include documentation from the US Army. If he said he graduated from the Wharton School of Business, he would HAVE to include his diploma. If he alleged that his opponent had committed a crime, proof of a criminal conviction would HAVE to be included. If he said his opponent lied about any single point, he would HAVE to include verifiable documentation, such as audio and/or video demonstrating the statement or a writing of the opponent, AND similar verification of its lack of truthfulness;
3. Each and every media outlet would have an independent duty to verity the truthfulness of each such fact and documentation, and in failing to do so or in publishing any such item
4. Independent commissions must be set up around the country to both monitor such political advertising and to investigate all complaints received from any source, sources which would likely include opposing campaigns, members of the public, and honest media outlets who see their competitors failing to follow the new laws and regulations. Member of these commissions and their enforcement mechanisms would ultimately be paid for through the fines levied and received for violations of the new laws, but also, certainly at the outset, through surcharges levied on all persons filing to run for office.
Without such reforms, just how much worse might it be the next time around?