The Myth of the Level Playing Field: Knowledge, Affect, and Repitition in Public Debate

March 1, 2010   •  By IFS staff   •    •  

In this article, Jeremy N. Sheff discredits the misconception that measures taken to “level the playing field” through campaign finance reform lead to a more competitive political arena. Sheff finds that the answer to calls by proponents of reform isn’t regulation, but rather encouraging members of society to engage with their neighbors to build civic communities that bring policy problems to light so that they can be solved through rational public policy. The author emphasizes that policymakers should begin to focus on “how to ameliorate the source of non-optimal political decision-making:  the political ignorance, non-rational decision-making, and civic disengagement of the average citizen.” Sheff stresses the need to carefully consider the consequences of broad campaign finance regulations before using them as “magic bullets” to solve normative dilemmas.

IFS staff

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