Patching Up Electoral Politics

by Middleton Jervey Manigault, III

Washington, DC – The United States Senate spent several hours Monday vigorously debating controversial legislation that may affect future political races here in South Carolina. The turmoil is all thanks to an intriguing new law proposed by Senator Ross Noman, a first-term independent from New Hampshire.

Noman’s legislation will make it mandatory for all United States Senate and House candidates to wear patches representing each of the top contributors to their campaigns.

“The idea is to bring real accountability and openness into the elections process; those running for higher office will literally be forced by law to wear their allegiance on their sleeves. Following the Supreme Court’s January decision to allow unlimited corporate contributions, we need to know now more than ever exactly who is beholden to whom in the political world.” Senator Noman said.

Each congressional candidate will be required to have an agreed upon symbol of their top ten contributors sewn in “a visible manner” upon whatever clothing they choose for their various campaigning stops.

Outspoken Minnesota Senator Allen Frankenberry supports the bill, saying “Most senators are whores and they deserve to wear these scarlet letters indicating exactly who they are whoring themselves out to.”

Several senators countered Noman and Frankenberry, most notably Jefferson Secessions (R) of Alabama. “All of this information is already out there for citizens to lay their hands on, we don’t need to put patches on our politicians and send them strutting out in public with these silly outfits. This is America! We aren’t a bunch of Nazis branding people for their chosen affiliations.”

As the debate continued Noman conceded that Secessions might have had a point twenty years ago “but we have to face the fact that we live in a time where the world moves very quickly and voters have a very limited attention span – the only way to make sure they have this information is to shove it directly in their faces,” the senator argued.

Advertising executive John Andrews, whose company Members Only stands to profit from the law, agrees. “We have had great success with similar ideas, such as covering sports arenas and NASCAR racers with corporate slogans and decals.”

Which begs the question: if passed will this law bring about recognition of the politicians’ corporate ties or will it result in further revenue for the companies whose logos appear on the candidates? Only time will tell.

The measure will be up for more debate Tuesday and should be ready for a vote on Wednesday. Currently forty senators support the measure and forty are opposed, including both of South Carolina’s senators. Another ten are still undecided. A similar bill co-sponsored by fifty-three separate legislators will go in front of the House next week.

What will be the consequences of the legislation here in South Carolina? There ought not to be much this year, as the bill is not scheduled to go into effect until May 2011 if passed. Those of you waiting for the upcoming battle between Alvin Greene’s plain patchless navy blue suit and Jim Demint’s technicolor dreamcoat will just have to be disappointed for now.

For a full list of all of the legislation’s provisions click here.

To find out just who has contributed (and how much) to politicians in the races near you check out

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