Most Americans likely feel that people with big money always fare better than the rest of us when it comes to politics. We feel that politicians at the local, state and federal levels pay a lot more attention to those Americans who make or have the potential to make big contributions to their campaigns: they play the money game. It is highly likely that all politicians, regardless as to whether the letter “D”, “R”, or “I” appears next to their name play the money game. Some of those politicians simply find it hard to hold on to their principles, others – after they get elected, find that scruples become a burden to them as regards their political ambitions so quickly rid themselves of them, and others are just plain and simply corrupt.
Many well-meaning politicians, when they are first elected, go into their jobs with the idea of making great decisions for America and their constituents based on principles and common sense. Sure, they had to raise money to get elected and they know that those people who contributed to their campaigns – especially those who contributed large amounts, expect something for their money. Some might expect an appointment to a committee or board that they want to be on, others might expect to be given a well-paying job, and still others might expect to receive support in the future to run for an elected position themselves. But at the very least, those people expect special access to that politician. The more money that they contribute, the greater the special consideration for access they expect to receive.
Many of the big money donors even have lobbyist working for them. These lobbyists use the special access gained by these donors to regularly pressure these politicians to do things that will favor these big money donors by tilting the playing field in their favor. We regular Americans don’t have paid lobbyists constantly whispering into the ears of elected officials so, more often than not, consideration for what we – and unfortunately even at times America and our democracy as a whole, need is moved to the backburner or completely disregarded. Our politicians regularly go on donor tours to impress and hold on to those who give them money to finance their campaigns. And, as usual, the big money donors are the ones who ultimately receive the greatest amount of attention and are given the greatest amount of consideration when it comes to governance and legislation.
It is no secret that with the cost of advertising, politicians must raise extremely large amounts of money in order to effectively compete to keep their jobs. The fact of the matter is that they are virtually raising money from the time that they are elected until the time that they must run for reelection. And this is an endless cycle for them for the whole time that they hold office. Even if these elected officials enter office with the best intentions of honestly and honorably serving America and all of their constituents well, many ultimately find themselves struggling with the choice of whether to maintain their scruples and principles at all costs or to consider their campaign contributors and all of their unspoken expectations in their overall calculus of getting reelected. Far too often the latter wins out; and it is also far too often that the big money donors reap most of if not all of the benefits!
Even the best of these politicians who have good intentions are on this roller coaster ride. They work tirelessly to keep these struggles by them hidden from all of their constituents; even those of us who are consummate consumers of politics. And although we know anyway that those struggles are there, the sincere efforts of these politicians to do the right thing and their effort to hide those struggles while trying to strike the perfect balance enables us to continue to hold at least some degree of admiration and respect for them. As a matter of principles as Americans, we must do our part to help them to gain the victory over this kind of politics. And we, the American people, can do this if we are willing to fight for change in the American election process and election system.
We say that we want principled politicians; politicians who will be statesmen and serve America honestly and honorably. If this is true, then we must remove big money from the American election process and election system. Big money has always in essence controlled American legislation and governance and that is exactly why the political playing field has been skewed in their favor from the beginning and still favors them. That is exactly why a few billionaires can run America by having governance work for just the few (billionaires, millionaires and the super wealthy) and continue to rob the everyday American of their collective vote by rendering it meaningless. If we truly want to make American governance work for all Americans, then we must get big money out of politics as soon as possible! We must start the process now to do that! The sooner that we get the job done, the better!
Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line