There are two sure losers. The first is public funding of elections. both McCain and Obama promised to limit themselves to public financing. Senator Obama broke his promise, and proved in the process that there are no consequences for doing so- no one outside Senator McCain's immediate family is raising the issue or cares about it. But if there are no consequences, there certainly are benefits- Senator Obama raised more than $150 million in September alone- nearly double the $84 million McCain gets for September and October combined. This pushes Senator Obama's total fundraising to over $605 million- many pundits are predicting the 2012 elections will see candidates raising over $1 billion each.
The other sure loser is third parties. Many have said that the primary intent of campaign reform is to freeze out third parties... whether that was the intent or not, it most certainly been the effect. All third parties are caught in a political Catch 22: the only way to raise money in large numbers of small contributions is to have a nationwide political machine in place, and the only way to build such a machine is with large contributions. This produces a second Catch 22: the major party candidates get free ink as simple news coverage, but the "unimportant" candidates do not- and, of course, with neither money nor free ink they will always be "unimportant". Notice that neither the Greens nor the Libertarians were invited to the debates.
Notice also that this stifling of third parties has been the only effect of campaign finance reform. Money is more important than ever, and the tone of campaigns haven't improved, either- campaign reform has been, overall, a bigger failure than the war on drugs. I propose that all such laws be scrapped in favor of a simpler system: let the parties and the candidates accept whatever they can get from whoever will give it- but with full and prior disclosure. Make the parties list every contributor on their websites, before the checks are cashed. You know, kind of like the system in place when the nation and the major parties were founded.
Or we could just continue to let the heads of the DNC and RNC decide between themselves who we are allowed to see in a debate and have on our ballots... and somehow expect real change to come about anyway.