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Supply-side politics?

Amid the hue and cry raised by some people over the high cost of political campaigns comes a dissenting voice: ''I am actually in favor of spending more money on politics - in order to increase competition for the public's attention.'' So says Dr. Herbert Alexander, director of the Citizen's Research Foundation and a political science professor at USC. The high cost of campaigning is inevitable in a democracy, he argues: You've got to reach as many voters as possible, and the most effective way to do that is through media advertising - which isn't cheap. Ads become especially vital to challengers because incumbents already bask in the limelight. One change he recommends: Raise current limits on contributions to candidates running for federal office.

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''The greater the election spending by groups with conflicting interests, the more side of an issue you will hear,'' he says.

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