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Mann and Corrado Continue Debate on Campaign Finance and Polarization

(L-R) U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) hold a ceremony to award posthumously the Congressional Gold Medal to civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington June 24, 2014.

Tom Mann and Anthony Corrado recently argued that campaign finance reform will likely have little effect on political polarization. Their new paper has sparked a host of debate over campaign finance, the strength of parties, and the ideological motivations of donors. Today, the Monkey Cage blog hosted Mann and Corrado’s response to a critique from Ray LaRaja and Brian Schaffner.

LaRaja and Schaffner argue that pumping more funding to parties and changing the rules to facilitate that practice will provide a respite from polarization; to argue their point, they examine polarization at the state legislative level. In their response, Mann and Corrado argue that the critique is off point, noting that “no causal link to campaign finance laws (and polarization) is demonstrated.” Ultimately, Mann and Corrado explain: “The link between party financial practices and regulatory regimes is often a matter of strategy than law, and the evidence offered in their (LaRaja and Schaffner) response certainly falls well short of making a case that greater party resources would reduce the polarization that undermines the capacity to govern.”

For more on this debate:

Read Mann and Corrado’s paper, “Party Polarization and Campaign Finance

Read LaRaja and Schaffner’s critique, “Want to reduce polarization? Give Parties Money

Read Mann and Corrado’s response, “Don’t expect campaign finance reform to reduce polarization

And check out some other great research on Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog

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