Imagine a horse race where the faster horses are given a head start. This is how New Jersey elections are run. The incumbent politicians have given themselves advantages in elections and have paid for it with your tax dollars.
As of October 12th, Democrat Phil Murphy has received $7.4 million in public funds, Republican Kim Guadagno has received just under $2.1 million in public funds. Libertarian candidate, Peter Rohrman, has not received any public funds. NJ’s matching fund program allows candidates to be given $2 from public funds for every dollar they raise. Candidates from other political parties and independent candidates are excluded by setting a minimum level of $430 thousand that must be raised to qualify for the program. The more successful your campaign, the more money you get from the government. In true Orwellian newspeak, NJ Election Law Enforcement Commission Chair, Jeff Brindle, says that these funds allow those who qualify to “mount competitive campaigns”.
Another area where the incumbent parties block access to their competition is with ballot placement. The Democrats and Republicans have passed a law that gives the established parties preferential ballot placement. The top two party columns are reserved for any political party that polls “at any primary election for a general election of at least ten per centum (10%) of the votes cast in the State for members of the General Assembly at the next preceding general election.”
Primary elections themselves are another way that the incumbent parties rip off the taxpayer. The Democrat Party and Republican Party, like the Libertarian Party, are not public entities, rather they are private clubs that nominate candidates for office. The two parties in power have tricked the taxpayer into paying for their selection process through the primary system.
One other area the politicians in power stack the deck is through the publicly funded debates. Only candidates who have qualified for matching funds can participate in the debates. Millions of taxpayer dollars have gone into paying for the Primary Election and General Election debates in this year’s Gubernatorial race, however all the benefit goes to the parties in power.
Critics often declare the elections in other countries as a fraud. Recent examples include elections in Venezuela, Liberia, and North Korea. We need look no further than our own state to see examples of politicians creating electoral advantages for themselves while raiding public funds to support their own electoral success.