Mark Schmitt

If you were a political billionaire, would you rather give $5,200 to every candidate, or spend endlessly advertising some partisan issue?

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Washington Is Suffering from a Naive Nostalgia for Old-School Political Bosses

The retiring Congressional stars show how much Washington needs free agents

Three retiring Capitol Hill superstars show that we need free agents, not just strong parties.

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Here's How We Should Think About the Inequality Debate

We need a whole new framework

"Inequality" is a concept too sweeping and cluttered to lead to useful solutions. Here's how we should actually think about it.

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2013 Was the Year the Grand Bargain Died. Good Riddance.

The magical thinking of the deficit-obsessed

The terrible, magical idea that a bunch of insiders can solve big problems by ignoring politics. 

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More Partisanship: What We Need to Fix Congress

Stronger political parties would have avoided this week's shutdown

Stronger political parties, acting in their own interest, could avoid this week's self-inflicted wounds.

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The second-day story from New York City’s primaries last week could have been the exceptional performance of the city’s unique system of small-donor public financing. By providing a six-dollar public match for every dollar raised in contributions of $175 or less, the system enabled the little-known Scott Stringer to compete with and defeat Eliot Spitzer’s family fortune in the race for Comptroller. On the Republican side, it helped mayoral nominee Joe Lhota, who received almost half his total spending in public money, to overcome another self-financed millionaire.

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On August 14, several hundred coal miners joined Mitt Romney at the Century Mine near Bealsville, Ohio, to cheer the Republican nominee as he denounced a “war on coal” by the Obama administration. Two weeks later, an official of the company that owns the mine, Murray Energy Corp. (which has given more than $900,000 to Republican candidates in the last two years, far more than any other coal company) admitted that the miners were not all there by choice. “Attendance at the Romney event was mandatory,” Rob Moore, the chief financial officer of Murray Energy told radio host David Blomquist.

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For decades, Republicans had a simple approach to debating spending cuts: Keep it abstract. Paul Ryan changes that.

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A decade ago, when Congress was debating the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, better known as McCain-Feingold, the conservative alternative to its modest tightening of regulations on political spending bore the wonderful name DeLay-Doolittle. The name represented not just the two primary sponsors—then-Reps. Tom DeLay and John Doolittle—but also what the bill would do, or not.

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