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Jonathan Mendilow, "Public Party Funding and the Schemes of Mice and Men," Party Politics, 2 (July, 1996), 329-353.

First Paragraph:
The second part of the 20th century has witnessed the escalation of the costs of party activity in western democracies. In consequence, parties have found it increasingly difficult to rely solely on grassroots support and have been compelled to solicit funds from companies, corporations and wealthy individuals. Even where there was no overt corruption or practices such as macing or toll-gating, contributions were always liable to be interpreted as investments on the expectation of quid pro quo benefits. This has not only undermined political equality but, by offering clear advantages to incumbents, made the task of the opposition more difficult. Direct or indirect public party funding has become a widespread method of tackling these problems. Among its professed objectives (e.g. Andren, 1970: especially 54-6) was the provision of incomes fixed by legislation to ensure the parties' ability to represent the general public better, and to afford them the opportunities of equal participation in public debate. At the same time it sought to release them from reliance on practices inconsistent with the 'one person, one vote' principle underlying party-public communication. For such reasons, legislation on public party funding has usually included regulations to limit financial contributions and open up the process of campaign financing to public scrutiny. This would also allow greater equality of opportunity among the parties, an objective enhanced by the imposition of limitations on party expenditure geared to restrict the cost of electoral campaigns and reduce the financial element in party competition.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1: Content analysis of Labor and Likud electoral appeals on Israeli television, 1-22 June 1992 (% of time allotted to each item).
Table 2: Knesset election results (120 seats), 1981-92.
Table 3: Public party funding ceilings and campaign expenditure, 1988 and 1992 (in US$).

Last Paragraph:
Admittedly, the 'revolt of the masses' and the change of direction in party evolution which took place during and following the 1992 Israeli campaign can hardly be paralleled elsewhere, at least for the time being. They are too strongly conditioned by the proportionally enormous influx of immigrants, the large number of native-born first-time voters, and the febrile atmosphere which magnified the sense of social and economic malaise. And yet to presume that other democracies will always be exempt from serious spells of real or perceived crises is unwarranted, especially after the stagflation of the 1970s and the high level of unemployment that still plagues Western Europe. Only a few months after the Israeli elections, Ross Perot provided an illustration, though in a very different system of what might happen in conditions of a widespread sense of economic decline and of government failure to tackle it. Instead of propaganda soundbites, personal insinuations and stump oratory, he delivered a series of half-hour lectures, complete with graphs, which stole the attention of so many of the electorate that the two main parties were compelled to take serious note of his agenda and change both their tactics and the contents of their messages accordingly. It is far from inconceivable, therefore, that what happened in Israel may serve not only to throw light on what has taken place but also as a pointer to what may yet happen in other western democracies.