Has Donald Trump expressed any position, or been asked his position, on how elections should be financed?
We know he thinks large contributions are corrupting (“I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And you know what, when I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them. They are there for me. That’s a broken system.”). We know he considers SuperPacs a “scam.” And a significant part of his appeal to supporters in the primaries is that he is self-funding his campaign. As others have pointed out, on money in politics, he sounds not all that different from Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton.
So what is his position on how to fix the system he considers broken? Would he favor public financing? Would he favor caps on how much outside groups or individuals could spend, which would require overturning Buckley? Or caps on how much campaigns could spend too? Or other approaches?
I ask in all seriousness. A while back, I noted that historically, the demands to regulate the role of money in American democracy had often united populist forces on both the right and left of the political spectrum. The Jacksonian tradition, to which Trump can perhaps be considered an heir, was centrally about reducing the perceived influence of big money on American democracy. On the Supreme Court, Justices from the Western United States who usually were considered somewhat conservative (White and O’Connor) or conservative (Rehnquist) had voted to uphold campaign finance regulations. In more recent decades, the issue became far more polarized in partisan terms, at least among elected officials.
Trump’s indictment of the current system has struck a bell with his supporters. Knowing what he would propose to fix the system would be of considerable interest.