In the past I’ve written that the excessive influence of money in the political process is one of the biggest problems we face in America today. Recently Hillary Clinton, no stranger to the raising of money nor to the elections process, announced that she was seeking an “inner circle” of donaters who met the 1 million dollar mark.
A million bucks? Is Hillary supposed to represent the American people after, in essence, buying the Democratic primaries using donations from only 100 of her richest friends? If this is to be the way of the 2008 election, the thoughts and desires of ordinary Americans will play very little part in the primary process and only marginally more in the general election.
Susan Estrich, herself no stranger to the business of presidential elections, also finds this trend – all of the Dems major players are doing the same thing – to be an abuse of the Supreme Court’s attempt to limit individual campaign contributions. She says:
The problem is that the system as a whole stinks, and million dollar bundlers (people who bundle checks together) are just as bad as million dollar donors, from the standpoint of the potential corruption of the system, and the candidate. What has happened, quite simply, is that the presidency is now officially for sale, not to the candidates but to the money people, who become far too important in the campaign.
It stinks – it truly does. The SCOTUS chose to come down on the side of donation restrictions even with the First Amendment issues that played against that decision. Now we’re being told flat out that it takes a million clams to buy a seat in the inner circle. Estrich says that “She’s the frontrunner, and this is what it costs. That’s the sad part.”
That is probably an accurate observation. But must it be so? What rationale is there behind a election system that does an end-run around the intentions of the Supreme Court and locks voters into selecting between candidates who were in essence pre-approved by the party and financial elites?
Estrich goes on to say this:
The Court’s naiveté about how campaigns work provided the road map for circumventing the system, and Congress and the candidates have responded by making public financing little more than a partial subsidy. The question is whether anyone – and that includes the Supreme Court –will be outraged enough to do something to fix the system, or exact a political price for its destruction, or whether the powers that are will simply raise the goals for their own fundraisers.
The court has already had its say in the matter and failed, as Hillary has shown us quite clearly, to enact a working reformation. But who else can the American people turn to? Estrich’s “powers that be” will never vote to reign in their own control of the gravy train. So the cycle will continue with the elections process becoming ever more buyable with those with the richest friends.
It’s sickening, this financial feeding frenzy that Clinton, Obama, and Edwards are part of. Where’s the candidate that people could actually vote for on merit alone? Not on the Democratic ballot, that much is already certain.