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What the Academy Awards 2012 Can Teach Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and the Supreme Court

The Academy Awards can provide some insight into the flaws of America's political system and the measures that can be taken to revise it.

The current voting system is imperfect because a candidate may win based not on his merits but the resources that he possesses. Fat cats and wealthy organizations can influence the course of elections because the monetary contributions that they donate will fund projects that will promote candidates. This fundraising competition has become so ingrained into our politics that it threatens the very foundation of the democratic process.

Money talks, but this problem can be resolved if more stringent campaign financing rules are adopted. A recent rule was implemented to barr inviting Academy voters to attend events designed specifically to promote a nominated movie or individual. It is difficult for Oscar nominees to lobby for votes when restrictions like this are in place. However, there are not as many visible limitations like this in politics. According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission, all the presidential candidates involved in the 2012 election have raised more than $330 million to date. This substantial amount can be dramatically reduced if more initiatives like the ones the Oscars have are taken to limit campaign financing.

GOP candidates prepare months before the primaries to get an edge over the competition. A proposition that can be taken under consideration is to reduce this amount of time in which candidates are allowed to campaign. Oscar awardees are given notice of their nomination only a few weeks ahead of time. Once announced, there is a succinct time frame in which they can gain support.

In fact, there is little that can be done to persuade Academy members that they deserve the golden statuette. There are additional stricter rules that the organization has implemented to curb the practice. These include a stop to receptions after film screenings, a ban on negative social media campaigning and Q&A restrictions. Box office sales and popularity also do not weigh into a nominee's decision. All that is presented to Academy members for judgement is the film's on-screen work. It is the artistic content that becomes the primary voting factor, and not the means by which votes are gathered.

However, this does not mean that the Oscars should be a model for how voting is conducted. The award show has its own problems. For one, the public is not permitted to vote for their favorites. Instead, only a small selectorate of individuals from the exclusive Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences decide the winners. Only those who have been nominated for an Oscar or those who are elected by two other current members in your field can be chosen to be in this group. This prohibits the average adolescent teenage girl from voting for the last Harry Potter movie. Participation is granted only amongst a minority.

What I am advocating for is stricter campaign laws. Money poisons the voting process. Politics has become a game of flash over substance. The assessment of a candidate should be based on his experience, qualifications, and character.

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