I have written this post for Yale Books Unbound. A snippet:
Those seeing this campaign money-polarization connection argue that to decrease political polarization, we need to free political parties to raise more money from wealthy donors. Further, public financing plans which give multiple matching funds for small donors (as New York City does in its elections) can exacerbate political polarization, because even small donors tend to have more extreme views than average voters.
Solving political polarization by loosening up money to parties and ending a novel public financing programs like New York’s would be a cure worse than the disease. We know from the era before the McCain-Feingold law that big donors who gave millions of dollars to political parties got preferential access to the President and to congressional leaders. And public financing can serve to democratize the political process, giving more candidates the ability to compete effectively in campaigns.
So how might we solve the problem of political polarization without raising other dangers?