Where does all the money come from? It certainly doesn’t come from Uncle George breaking open his piggy bank to give a few dollars to his favorite candidate. Multi-national corporations are by far the near-exclusive purchasers of raw power. Since Citizens United, where money was equated with free speech, the obscenity of money in politics has been on steroids. As it was in 1875, so too today, but even by our standards, that is a lot of money.
It’s rare for a politician to raise enormous money on small, individual donations. Bernie Sanders was one. His average contribution was $27, but he had such a great appeal to the public that he even out-raised his competitors. But like Sanders, a candidate also loses with that kind of money raised. A billion dollar campaign often loses to the 2 billion dollar campaign. Yet in more local races, money doesn’t always equate with one’s success.
But what this shows is that the average person has virtually no say in who is elected, or really selected. We are an oligarchy, as the Princeton/Northwestern study showed, not that we needed a study to know that. There should be no more pretense that we are a representative democracy. We are not represented. Giving the price of an aircraft to a campaign guarantees a bit more of an audience with whom they purchased than one giving $27.
If ever there were to be real electoral reform, addressing the need for money needs to be the highest priority. Rank choice voting, even the issue of preventing voter suppression by both parties, cannot be fully addressed until money is neutralized, whereas the most credible but loneliest candidate can compete with the Boeings, the Walmarts, the General Electrics of the world.