The Truth About Campaign Finance

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February 7, 2016 by Chris Kite

All the back and forth between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders about donations and speaking fees she has accepted are incredibly frustrating. Not because it isn’t true or because the two candidates disagree. But because our political system is broken. ALL the candidates have taken donations that are intended to help the person, corporation, or organization that is donating. Period.

It is true that Bernie Sanders hasn’t had big corporate donors. But he has had many big union donations. Don’t get me wrong. I support unions. And I support their right to influence political campaigns or try to get the person elected that is best for their interests. At least as long as corporations can also support candidates. Sanders has historically been a strong supporter of unions. So it only makes sense that unions want him to get elected. Is Sanders too friendly to unions? For sure. Well. If you’re Republican or anti-union.

Unfortunately, our laws have created this mess. Running a political campaign in the United States is very expensive. It is too expensive. The days of simply talking to voters and making the rounds with the media are gone. They’ve been gone for a long time.

And Citizens United made political campaigns even worse. Now we’ve got the bizarre situation of a white supremacist super PAC supporting racist Donald Trump, who says he doesn’t want their support. Only in America!

Hillary Clinton has received huge donations from financial companies. And this makes total sense if you consider that these organizations are trying to help her get elected over Bernie Sanders because Sanders makes them very, very scared. Is Clinton too friendly to banks? For sure. Well, at least for my taste and for many liberal Democrats. But I don’t think there is anything being hidden. There are two Democrats in the race. One is very unfriendly toward big financial organizations. The other is much more friendly. These organizations know something about hedging their bets. These same organizations are also donating to many of the Republican candidates.

We need to change the way we fund elections in this country. We need to take the money out. We need to take corporations AND unions out of the election process. If corporations or unions want to tell their employees or members who is best for their organization, that should be allowed. But actually spending huge amounts of money on a campaign makes the entire system completely corrupt!

Our current system is really nothing more than open corruption. We’ve established our country as an Oligarchy by giving those with the most money way more political influence than citizens. It’s a given that people and organizations give big donations because they want support. In many cases that support may already be present. In other cases, the organization is trying to buy support. It takes the focus off the people. Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg address line about “government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” is long gone. We need to change the system to make it about the people again. Because corporations and unions and special interest groups are NOT people. We need to stop these special interests from dominating and downright owning the political process. We are supposed to be a Democratic Republic, not an Oligarchy!

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