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Tom Campbell talks about the Common Sense Party

If you missed the Catalysts Call conversation (2/28/22) with former US Congressman Tom Campbell talking about a new Common Sense Party, the recording is available on the Catalysts website.

Here are a few highlights with edited questions and responses, along with approximate timestamps.

Q #1: Most political parties have wonderful sounding statements, but we run into problems because the people in office are politicians. Most of them are smart enough to do the right thing, but they’re not motivated to do the right thing. How do we get through that? (00:32:07)

Tom Campbell: Fundamental control is exercised by campaign finance. Candidates raise money, but if you’re an individual running for the legislature, you cannot raise more than $4,900 from an individual donor. But you can ask that same individual to give $45,000 to the party. The party can turn around the next day and give their candidate some of that money. This is perfectly legal. The law was written by Democratic and Republican parties. That gives party-affiliated candidates a 10:1 advantage. (00:32:51)

Getting the 10:1 funding advantage helps candidates in California’s top-two primary system. In California, you only have two candidates in the November election. If one of those is an independent, and the Common Sense Party can provide the 10 to one advantage to like-minded candidates, the monopoly of power is over.

A new Common Sense Party, once qualified by the Secretary of State, can overcome the challenge of an independent candidate raising money. The Common Sense Party charter allows the party to help candidates, no matter what their original party affiliation.

Q#2: Californians basically have one-party dominance. Under this one-sided Democratic party control, the housing situation keeps getting worse. Most people are clueless. The ones paying attention are frustrated. I would love to participate in a new party that would yield tangible results. What can we do? (00:33:25)

Tom Campbell: First of all, do no harm.Beyond that, how do you stop trends moving in the wrong direction? The dominant party has more than two-thirds of both Houses in the Legislature.As a result, they can amend the Constitution, without raising a dime. For the rest of us, however, you’ll need to gather about $20,000,000 to put an initiative on the ballot. (00:38:45)

Bringing the monopoly party down below two-thirds of the House is achievable, and it’s a goal that won't take ten years. For example, finding, funding, and electing five independent-minded Senators (out of 40) or seven Assembly members (out of 80) is a reasonable goal. (00:39:18)

We need people willing to come into service for a few years and then go back to their professions, not career politicians. (00:40:22)

Last point: In 2024, one-half of all the legislators in the state of California are termed out. Half of the legislators can be replaced.

That’s the best news I’ve heard all day.

For more information about the Common Sense Party, go to


Common Sense Party, campaign finance, two-tier voting