Polimom writes about something that’s always gnawed at me. The polarized 2-party system we have in this country doesn’t allow enough candidates whose views are actually in alignment with their constituents rather than the party bosses to make it through the process.
The surge in special interest money that drives this polarization hasn’t been effectively countered by campaign finance reform. It seems to me that little to nothing has been done to mitigate the corrupting influence of money in the electoral process.
Consider the purpose of the election process. Is it:
- To elect the person with the most personal wealth
- To elect the person who gathered the most “charitable” donations
- To elect the person whose views most closely represents the constituency
- To elect the person who can bring the most “bacon” back home
I submit to you that we’ve always had problems with #s 1 and 4 above, but only in the last couple of decades has #2 become a divisive factor. Defenders of the PAC and other forms of so-called “soft money” like to shield this corruption behind individuals’ right to free speech, etc.
I’m not sure I agree. Individuals do, still, have the right to speak freely and vote for the candidate of their choice. However, what rights are granted to corporations and other affiliations under the Constitution? I don’t believe that the right to shout with one voice and buy elections is among them, regardless of how you want to spin it.
I would argue that these groups and their enormous influence over the political process deprives me of my right to choose my representation. How? Consider the principle of “1 man, 1 vote” that is supposed to govern this country’s elections.
If powerbrokers Dewey, Cheatum & Howe whip up a 10,000 member all-Republican, all-the-time voting block and proceed to funnel these dollars through their organization to candidates of their choosing, DCH is amplifying their influence and diminishing that of the common man. Money buys votes, make no mistake, and by directing it DCH is decreasing the effective value of my vote.
Note that this is particularly true in party primaries when INOs (party members “in name only”) are washed out of the system for failing to agree with DCH and their ilk.
This may be too vague for the court system to deal with, but I think it’s a real, legitimate concern that, if framed in the proper legal context, could be used to force the legislative branch into correcting flaws that perpetuate the defective status quo.