On Thursday, John Edwards announced that his campaign will accept public financing for his presidential campaign. Edwards told reporters that the decision was about taking “a principled stand” in favor of public financing and challenged his top opponents, Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, to do the same.
The public funding system was designed to help candidates like Edwards, whose polling in states like Iowa clearly demonstrates his ability to appeal to voters, just not the ones with the deepest pockets. That system hasn’t kept up with the times, however. Both Clinton and Obama will probably raise $100 million by the end of this year, money they’ll be able to spend freely. Edwards, meanwhile, will have his spending in most areas restricted to less than half of that. The frenetic pace set by this season’s primary schedules unfortunately tilts the playing field toward the most heavily-funded candidates. Restoring the public financing system would put some much needed balance back into the contest, giving all voters a better voice.