Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
zkyllonen8

Campaign Finance

Recommended Posts

So Recently for A class I am enrolled in for college we were tasked with writing a research paper, I choose mine on Campaign Finance Reform. If you would like to give it a read that would be great! Bonus I got a 95% on it..

 

 

 

 

Campaign Finance: Problems Associated with It and Reform Ideas

            We are currently in the year 2019 and as everyone knows our politics are a mess right now and have been for a very long time. One of the core problems with American politics right now is the money that is involved. For example, in 2016 both the general and congressional elections an estimated 6.5 billion dollars was spent. There has always been money in politics, but not to the degree we have today. The real issue of unlimited amounts of spending and the absurd donations really began with the supreme court case Citizens United v. FEC. So, this paper is going to talk about how money in politics has shaped our democracy and how it has allowed the upper class to be the ruling class while the middle class is still the one being left behind on many issues.

A brief history lesson about the issue of campaign finance. The first law that was enacted regarding the issues of campaign finance was in 1867. “The Naval Appropriations Bill prohibited officers and employees of the federal government from soliciting money for political campaigns from naval yard workers.” This was a step in a good direction there were many different bills and decisions by the court that were passed years after the bill in 1867, but the first with huge ramifications was a supreme court case in 1976. Buckley v. Valeo started the current trend of problems that we have today the Supreme court ruled that “while contributions could be limited in order to avoid corruption, or the appearance of corruption, spending by individuals or groups or by candidates themselves could not corrupt elections and should not be limited under the First Amendment.”. With this ruling came the entrance of soft money. After this decision was made by the court insane amounts of money began to funnel into our elections and in turn began swaying voters. The first election that PACs had a huge influence was the 1980 election where they spent a record 131 million dollars combined in the presidential election or the same as 409 million in today’s dollars.

Influence by money in politics was an issue before the beginning of the century but was accelerated exponentially by the supreme court ruling on the Citizens United v. FEC case in 2010. Which states that “under the First Amendment corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited.” Which means that corporations have the same rights as an average American, they have the right to free speech and the ability to donate to candidates and in unlimited amounts. Which is where SuperPAC’s come into play, corporations have the money and manpower to be able to form a SuperPAC and with the new protections for corporations it is totally legal for a corporation to funnel millions of dollars into a SuperPAC for an individual candidate. For example, the top 3 SuperPAC’s that were Pro-Trump in 2016 brought in a total of 67 million dollars during the 2016 election cycle alone. This has to be worrisome to some people, right? In response to the Citizen United case there has been many organizations and movements rise up to fight the corporate influence into our elections. One example is the organization Wolf Pac. They are fighting for transparency throughout our system of campaign finance. The solution that Wolf Pac is putting forth is proposing a 28th amendment to the constitution to make sure that we have free and fair elections.

 

With the huge influx to the wealthiest Americans over the past 4 decades because of the effects of the trickle-down theory, the wealthy are more powerful than ever. We now have a system where it is fundamentally okay to donate unlimited amounts of money and sway elections with this power. Which in turn is hurting our democracy in ways that we can fix. As David Koch says “Our main interest is not participating in campaigns…. Our main interest is in policy.” This statement proves that the rich and powerful only care to swing our elections to reap the benefits of an administration or congress person that pushes for example: corporate tax cuts, less regulation, etc. Currently we have a congress that has a negative 43.2 percent approval rating, some might point to the fact that this is so low because of lack of bills being passed, gridlock, etc. But the truth is that people are starting to realize that representatives on both sides of the aisle are not representing the people in that district or state. They represent the corporate donors who give them the most money and vote with them and not the constituents. While in some cases this is not true the overwhelming majority of our politicians are influenced by money.

 Money in politics has taken out one of the most crucial roles of our government and that is listening to the people. For example, A big Tobacco group named Altria has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on lobbying and donations to stop a bill that is trying to raise the age to buy tobacco products to 21. The bill was introduced in both the house and senate all the way back in April of 2019. Neither chamber has had a vote on the bill. This shows the problem of our gridlock because of the influence of money. Another example of a vote that might have been swayed by a big influence is H.R.8, which is the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019. The 3 top receivers of money in the house from the NRA voted against this case. This is just two examples of many that show that our representatives do not represent us in most cases, but in turn represent am interest group, corporation or wealthy donor. Which causes our democracy to falter which takes the American electorate out of the equation, by bypassing what our founding fathers tried to set up for us. A system that allows the American people to fight tyranny by having the power to elect our representatives that are supposed to be fighting for all of us and not just the people on top.

No matter what political party you are you know that the insane amounts of money that the wealthy spend on elections is absurd, but the real problem underlies the amount of money that is donated to induvial candidates. It lies in the bills and laws that they are pushing through congress because their donors are telling them too. For example, according to a report done by democracyjournal.org in what they called “Prosperity Economics” they found that when asking Americans in a poll of who the government helped during the downturn at the beginning of the 2010s,  53% said banks and financial intuitions, 44% said large corporations and only 2% thought federal polices helped the middle class. So, people that are wanting to reform the current system need to be able to explain that we need to worry about a health democracy that distributes political power equally across the board, but with healthy economic rewards as well. So, in general the U.S is facing huge obstacles to be able to bring about the structural reform that our campaign finance system needs. But just as every other issue this country has faced once the people feel strongly enough about it, real structural change will come about.

As mentioned earlier there are organizations that are proposing ideas to fix our broken campaign finance system like Wolf Pac’s idea to have a constitutional amendment to have free and fair elections. But some disagree with this idea and feel that might take too long and there is a better approach. The first example that proposes something different is at the beginning of the legislative session in 2019 House Democrats proposed a bill which would according to PBS, “require “dark money” political groups to make their donors public. And it would create a public financing system for congressional campaigns that Democrats say will cut down on corruption and reduce the power of lobbyists and other special interests.” This is a huge first step in the right direction but unfortunately Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that this bill would get no floor time in the senate as he decides what they vote on, and President Trump has already said he will veto the bill. According to PBS, “Republicans call the bill a thinly disguised power grab that would expand government and use billions in taxpayer money to pay for congressional campaigns.” They say this but at the same time are responsible for taking in millions of dollars in campaign contributions. The second idea proposed to help fix our broken system is from the The Brookings Institution’s, Thomas E. Mann he actually put forth 6 different options here are a few that seem plausible. “Increase the role of political parties in congressional campaign finance.” What he means by this is taking the aspect of soft money out of the equation and to try and force the political parties to get individual donations instead of relying on donations from Unions, PACs, wealthy individual, etc. The Final one of his thoughts are as follows, “Adopt provisions, in law and congressional rules where appropriate, that explicitly separate fundraising from lawmaking. Members of Congress should be prohibited from requesting campaign contributions from registered lobbyists or from discussing with them contributions from their parent organizations or clients.” This thought right here from Mr. Mann is what organizations like Wolf PAC are fighting for is to get the middle guy out of our democracy. We should as constituents be able to counsel with our elected officials to vote based on what would benefit us as and not just the people on the top. Mr. Mann proposed these ideas all the way back in 1996, 22 years later it is even more prevalent then today then was then. If we have people all around this country say enough is enough then we might be able to get the change that is necessary for our campaign finance system.

So, as I have described above, we have a real issue with our campaign finance system that is going to need huge structural change to make a dent into the problem. All of our politics, laws and votes by our representatives are decided right now by one thing, money. Without the necessary change we will continue to live in a society where our democracy is being undermined because of the absurd amounts of money being funneled in and out of our representative’s pockets. We must be able to have people that represent us and not only the corporate and rich classes of America only, every single person that takes elected office takes an oath of office to support and defend the constitution of these United States, maybe with reform people in the future will hold this oath true.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Congratulations on your good grade.  To me this reads more like a persuasive essay than a research paper, but it's definitely well written.  

 

On 12/11/2019 at 1:51 AM, zkyllonen8 said:

All of our politics, laws and votes by our representatives are decided right now by one thing, money.

 

Candidates, laws, and votes often go against the money.   For just one example, consider that far more money was spent on Hillary's behalf than Trump's (almost 2 to 1).  2016 Presidential Campaign Fundraising

 

'Money' wanted Ted Cruz for a Republican...not Trump.   Note that the Super Pacs were all behind Cruz.  Cruz's Super Pacs raised 45% of $141.9M (that's $63.9M) while Trump only got 5% of $51.2M ($2.6M) from Super Pacs.

 

2016PrezCandidatesMoneyChart-640px1.jpg

 

Money certainly has an impact.  I just thought your paper overstated the case.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Renegade said:

Congratulations on your good grade.  To me this reads more like a persuasive essay than a research paper, but it's definitely well written.  

 

 

Candidates, laws, and votes often go against the money.   For just one example, consider that far more money was spent on Hillary's behalf than Trump's (almost 2 to 1).  2016 Presidential Campaign Fundraising

 

'Money' wanted Ted Cruz for a Republican...not Trump.   Note that the Super Pacs were all behind Cruz.  Cruz's Super Pacs raised 45% of $141.9M (that's $63.9M) while Trump only got 5% of $51.2M ($2.6M) from Super Pacs.

 

2016PrezCandidatesMoneyChart-640px1.jpg

 

Money certainly has an impact.  I just thought your paper overstated the case.

 

I like the constructive criticism, thank you for that.

 

I firmly believe that we have a fundamental right to have our representatives represent us and not always the corporations and donors. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like the creative side of the paper, where you go off from there is in the history you use without describing the feeling of what it was like back in 1867. I would say you should not skip from there to present day. Sure there might be some comparisons to what we have now today, but you don't describe them.

You need to dive down deeper. How about the corrupt Boss of Tammany Hall, where William Tweed plied would be possible voters with alcohol who would be then thrown into jail.

What was the purpose, what change did the corruption of democracy entail?

You could easily say that those with money are working towards the public good, they are the true leaders who somehow had the knack to create enterprise and give jobs to those who

otherwise would have become destitute.

Surely, that is bull, what they actually did was exploit people, back then they had kids working in textile plants, and the truth is the kids worked because the immigrant families came into the cities, like New York, feeling stranded. 

The truth is, in Chicago, commodities, like livestock, was traded on the open market, at a time when there was no real way of transport, no real way of preserving meat or produce.

Ever read any John Steinbeck's, East of Eden?

 

You have to delve into a paper like the one you propose to write with zeal. You have to put all you got into it.

Yes Yes, You are correct, Citizens United is an absolutely crazy law that the US Congress actually never wrote, it's that grotesque. It was mandated by the Supreme Court. Ironically it came 

from big money that protested the McCain/Feingold Act, which btw was a bipartisan law to remove big money or campaign finance from big  donors.

 

You state in your conclusion, that our campaign finance laws will require structural change. But you fail to mention the structural change that would be required to make it so.

You do not even state the narrative, in the public sense, to ask why this happened, or even how it could have been stopped.

 

But, still it is a difficult issue. Everybody knows.

Peace!

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey zkkyllonen8, 

Please don't take my critique of your paper the wrong way. 

I mean, what the hell do I know, who am I, a nobody, is the first place to start. 

At least you wrote a paper regarding campaign finance laws which are corrupt.

 

Politics are nuts, anywhere, in any situation. It isn't too hard to create corruption if you have some money and can control peoples way of life.

Some people will utter the rule of law comes from the Magna Carta which stopped taxation ordained by the King and guaranteed a trial or legal process before taking away an individuals  right to a trial or some legal process before taking away their liberty or every thing they owned.

 

But what about debt, what about debtors prisons, what about bankruptcy laws, what about statutory rights regarding private ownership of land?

Politics is no perfect science, it is no science at all. 

The economics of politics, what about that? Wouldn't that be the best place to start regarding campaign finance law, just the mention of something one could illustrate, the basic economics of campaign finance law, and how it requires total reform?

What about climate change, campaign finance law might come into this discussion.

What about too many people being put into prison for all the wrong reasons, which adversely affects the economy, because we have horrible schools, because we have mandated excuses after excuses for not spending the money up front to educate our children. 

 

Shouldn't we know this. Do you need a Judge Kavanaugh who was hand picked from the Federalist society which BTW has a ton of money, to corrupt the highest court of the land, because big money is that intrusive to our democracy, so much that it cries out in the most peculiar ways, which should be more than evident to any objective onlooker, wherein Constitutional purest

will suggest, we must follow the constitution as it was written two hundred thirty plus years before, without even questioning why or how or even trying to decide what the world, our world was like back then?

 

we collectively push on. I left my family mixed up, the only hope for me was to join the armed forces, the Navy. We take what we are given, but we never do enough, we must stay honest,

learn how to state what is on our mind. I am a fool myself. I know what it is like to feel lost.

 

And why can't they say that, I wonder. Well they do, you can hear it in their tone. They are full of bull no matter how much money the spend. The world is full of fools.

I grew up reading Charles Bukowski novels. What the hell do I know.

 

Peace!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...