An alternative approach proposed in this book is novel. The idea that campaign funding should be taken over by the citizens. As for the government campaign funds, the citizens should be in control to divert that money the best way they deem fit. Each citizen with a $50 government issued ATM directs their share of the funds to a political party or a candidate of their choice, and all this is done anonymously. If the recipients of these funds do not know who gave it to them (other than it generally came from the citizenry), then the need for special interests and political paybacks will not arise. Perfect! right? Yes, at least in theory it is.
Practically it wouldn't work. Because such a change would require congressional passage, and common sense dictates that no politician will vote for such suicidal career killing bill. Special interests unfortunately have created a very influencial industry with epic powers to make or break politicians. He who has the deepest campaign finance pockets has most power, and congress will most likely never vote for a bill that eliminates lobbyists and special interests. They will all tell you it's a vice, but it's a vice they do not want to eliminate.
To correlate an example: Would a police officer or a criminal justice official wish for less crime? Yes and no. Yes, in the sense that it makes society safer, and no because - in a twisted way - crime creates jobs, opportunities and (like it or not) it makes colorful and distinguished careers.
In theory, we are the government of the people, for the people and by the people. But the prestige of power doesn't lie with the citizenry (even though our civic and history books lament as such). It rests with the politicians and with that, it extends to big oil, wall street, insurance industry etc. Our democracy is by far way ahead of most other jurisdictions around the world, but it is safe to say that the current US campaign financing has ultimately corrupted that democracy.
In 2010 the Supreme Court extended the 1st Amendment rights to Corporate America in the sense that they too couldn't be prohibited by Congress for their association and engagement in political speech. Which simply translates "that the flood-gates that had prevented them from flooding Washington with money are now open." I'm not a lawyer, but conventional wisdom tells me that the 1st Amendment wasn't created for Corporations, but for the human citizens, in the hope that they couldn't be prosecuted or persecuted for their political beliefs and speeches. Corporate speech and human speech are a complete antithesis. The recognition of Corporate speech as human speech is essentially selling access to the halls of power.
I have never called a congressional office in DC, but I guess it would take weeks if not months for my congresswoman to get back to me. But Merrill Lynch or Goldman Sachs would have theirs returned in minutes, because access to power is sold to the highest bidder, and as such, it is an illusion to think that the power is with the people: by, for, of the people or any other colorful mirages in the civic books.
I'm not really sure how this can be rectified. How do you rectify a system that has 'worked' for centuries? After all we are all humans and we make grave mistakes. Maybe eliminate campaign financing altogether? Free TV and radio spots, free newspaper ads? Cut Congress time into half with half the pay? And so I finish where I started, with just good ideas that look good on paper but will never pass Congressional floor.