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Financing of political parties in the United States and France

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Financing of political parties in the United-States

Today we will discuss the financing of political parties and candidates in the presidential elections in the United States. We will also try to see how the American system is different from the French system. Finally, we would reflect together on the positive and negative points of each system.

Presentation

The financing of political parties in the United States concerns the electoral campaigns. Today we'll interest us for national campaigns.  

At the federal level, campaign finance law is enacted by Congress and enforced by the Federal Election Commission. As the issues are very high for the presidential elections, a special independent commission has been created, the Federal Electoral Commission (FEC). Composed of eight members, it is responsible for verifying that the candidates remain within the law. She can give fine. She does it regularly.

We therefore see that candidates' expenses in the United States are much higher than in France. The largest area and population in the United States and its larger area could explain such a difference. However, this is not enough to explain everything. Indeed, candidates in the United States spend 30 times more in total than candidates in France. In addition, the amounts spent on camaps are constantly increasing. The Obama and McCain campaign in 2008 was the first to exceed one billion, while Obama's campaign alone in 2012 exceeded one billion. Finally, in 2016 Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump spent more than $3 billion between them. The amount has therefore tripled in 8 years. Various journalists believe that candidates in 2020 will spend even more. In comparison, in France the amount spent by the ten candidates remains around 80 million dollars. So how is it possible that two candidates spent more than 30 times more money in the United States than two candidates in France?

6* and 18* - little bit like the UE – but doesn’t explain

These reasons are legal. There are indeed laws in France that severely limit the financing of political parties. In addition, the State subsidizes political parties. In the United States, the rules are very different.

The money for campaigns for federal office comes from four broad categories of sources:  small individual contributors (individuals who contribute $200 or less), large individual contributors (individuals who contribute more than $200), political action committees, and self-financing (the candidate's own money).

Half the states allow corporate contributions. In this state’s corporation can give as money as they want. SuperPacs for elections and primaries. These allow them to receive donations in excess of $2,000, which was previously the authorized limit.

In the 2016 elections all primary candidates used SuperPacs except Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

This things explains the spending differences between France and the US. In France someone is allowed to give only 7500 euros/year and corporation financing is forbidden. In the US a candidate spends as much as he or she wants. In France they can only spend 25 000 000 euros.

 

Public financing of elections. In France all candidates with a score above 5% are reimbursed for their expenses for the presidential elections. They also have annual funding of 8 euros per voter if they make more than 1% in legislative elections.

In the United States, public funding is very different, which also explains why the expenses are more consistent. Public financing is available for qualifying candidates for President of the United States during both the primaries and the election.  Presidential candidates receive federal government funds to pay for the qualified expenses of their political campaigns in both the primary and general elections. To be eligible to receive public funds, the presidential nominee of a major party must agree to limit spending to the amount of the grant and may not accept private contributions for the campaign. Candidates may spend an additional $50,000 from their own personal funds, which does not count against the expenditure limit. In 1976, each major party nominee received $21.8 million.  Today it would be 84 millions. Small parties in the United States, such as the Libertarian Party or the Green Party, are not eligible for public funding because their scores are too low to access it.

So we saw how campaign financing worked in the United States, we compared that with our system. We can now ask ourselves what the advantages and disadvantages of each of the systems are, particularly with regard to the role of the State or financing by companies.

Financing of political parties in the United-States

will discuss the financing in the presidential elections in the United States. We will also try to see how the American system is different from the French system. Finally, we would reflect together on the positive and negative points of each system.

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