The Orlando Sentinel’s editorial board recently focused on multiple flaws in the campaign finance system and how they impact the Florida governor’s race. The editorial board went through the various methods each gubernatorial candidate was able to raise money. While no one can disagree with the vast number of issues there are with campaign finance system, critics often seem to ignore one of the greatest issues that plague our elections.
Focusing on how much money Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putman, who is running for the Republican nomination, received in donations from US Sugar, the editorial board noted his ability to bypass election laws to get unlimited funds for his campaign through his vastly spread political committee. The editorial board also weighed in on the numerous political committees which have contributed to Putnam’s campaign. Besides taking aim at Putnam, the editorial board also focused on Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who is running for the Democratic nomination, and the amount of money he was receiving from political action committee which were spending money on ads promoting him and others attacking primary rival former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla.
The campaign finance system is identified as a major problem in our election system, and rightfully so. Billionaire Jeff Greene and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, both running in the Democratic primary, will be able to self fund their campaigns because both of these candidates have the money to simply write a check out of their own personal accounts. The Orlando Sentinel‘s editorial board correctly shows that this money will give them the ability to gain attention by pushing their campaigns into the spotlight and garner other major donors to contribute to their campaigns. The editorial board also pointed out this highlights how only the rich and well-connected can win elections.
The one thing that the Orlando Sentinel did not point out is its own culpability in creating flaws in our electoral process. Even in an article focused on campaign finance reform, the editorial board chose to ignore candidates who are addressing the issue. Even as it whined about the money in the race, the editorial board and the paper continue to focus on candidates who take special interest money or have millions to fund themselves instead of featuring a different option for anyone looking for a different choice.
The media is supposed to inform voters about the candidates who are in the race but only focus on those who take the money (that the media complains about them taking) and completely ignores the others. Reading the Orlando Sentinel, you would think that only Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., are running in the Republican primary. They refuse to highlight about Bob White and his gubernatorial campaign. White, who leads the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida, boasts that one of his main issues is campaign finance reform. The Orlando Sentinel editorial board has not covered Bob who has been working on Campaign Finance Reform in Tallahassee. The paper also ignored White when he was working on this legislation.
The Orlando Sentinel can point out the flaws in the election system all it wants but until it cleans up its act, its words ring hollow.
Alex Snitker is a United States Marine veteran who was the Libertarian nominee for the U.S. Senate back in 2010. He is the president of the Liberty First Network, the liberty lobbying organization based in Florida that works in Tallahassee on positive liberty legislation and educates the citizens on the political process and how they can individually make an impact.