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Final Presidential Debate - an opportunity to begin getting money out of national politics

"Money is the mother's milk of politics" - (Jesse Unruh, 1972)

Ugly, but unfortunately, true. The New York Times has called it Madness of Mega-Donors.

If we can't staunch this flow soon the Supreme Court could eventually reduce it significantly by overturning the Citizens United decision. It would also require comprehensive national legislation restricting campaign funding.

Sure, sounds like dream stuff. Many have worked at this for years without much success.

But some states and cities have come up with some worthy models. California and New York City are examples.

And a comprehensive national plan has been advanced during the presidential campaign. In addition to overturning Citizens United it would include:

. Overhaul of the Federal Election Commission.

. Matching funds for qualified candidates.

. Greater disclosure of the proliferating politically-motivated "non-profit' groups allegedly promoting "social welfare".

. Elimination of the "independent" super PACs that are tailored to individual candidates.

It's the plan advanced by Hillary Clinton -- who, like many candidates, has used such resources in the depressing competitive race for campaign funding. Donald Trump has not presented a plan of these dimensions.

And the politics of the Supreme Court nominations is now white hot:

Senator John McCain, (R-Az) on Monday in a Philadelphia radio interview, incredibly said this: "I promise you that we [Republican senators] will be united against any Supreme Court nominee that Hillary Clinton would put up". 

Imagine a Supreme Court with two or more vacancies for up to eight years and the constitutional crises that could produce.   

(McCain's spokesman quickly walked that statement back.)

This follows the eight-month vacancy on the court resulting from the Republican-controlled  Senate decision not to hold hearings on nominees to fill the seat of the late Antonin Scalia.

Tomorrow night's debate will have many historic implications. Not the least will be the future of the U.S. Supreme Court and its role in helping to shape the country's legal, political and cultural framework. Money in politics is now - unfortunately - a toxic element in that system.

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