, Volume 49, Issue 5, pp 409-417

Super PACs and Financing the 2012 Presidential Election

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A free and fair electoral process is the primary mechanism for holding political power accountable in a democratic society. Money, for better or for worse, is an essential ingredient for facilitating elections that are competitive and substantively meaningful. Money allows candidates and political parties to organize voter registration and get-out-the-vote drives. Money also enables candidates to travel for meeting directly with voters and to communicate with and inform voters through the mass media and direct mail about their issue positions, leadership qualities, record in office, the rationale for their candidacy, and failings of their opponents.

Stephen K. Medvic, Campaigns and Elections: Players and Processes (Boston: Wadsworth, 2010); John Sides, Daron Shaw, Matt Grossmann, and Keena Lipsitz, Campaigns & Elections: Rules, Reality, Strategy, Choice (New York: Norton, 2012).

Without substantial amounts of money, it is unlikely that any candidate for national office can assemble the p