Tag Archives: campaign finance reform

John McCain’s Failed Cause Was the Nation’s Loss, Big Time

Almost two decades ago (March 1, 2000) Senator John McCain wrote an editorial for USA Today: “Campaign Finance Reform Must Not be Ignored.”

Unfortunately, his pleas for reform were indeed ignored.

Recently, Charles and David Koch, heirs of an industrial family invested in fossil fuels, announced a donation of twenty million dollars to promote President Trump’s recently passed tax plan.

Both major political parties benefit from donations large enough to make the heads spin of ordinary folks. In 2017, the median household income, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, was $59, 039, not quite .003 percent of what the Koch brothers gave this one time. (They’ve given much more over many years.)

Should we not be uneasy with the thought that if politicians want to be elected, they must support policies favored by big donors?

Campaign finance reform became harder when a Supreme Court decision in 2010 struck down the limits on corporate giving.

Reform, if it is to happen now, may be up to the states. One movement encourages a sufficient number of states to seek an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning the 2010 decision. Other states are trying various ways to publically finance local elections.

Success depends on the support of ordinary citizens—or they can ignore the efforts at reform, as they did before, and continue with a government influenced and operated overwhelmingly by the wealthy.

Vote Anyway

This popular video on YouTube mimics the agony of many Americans when faced with the choices their political parties have given them:

How do we change a flawed process for next time?

I support my U.S. representative, who has publicly endorsed campaign finance reform. I have talked personally with my state senator in a community meeting about my desire for financing reform at the state level.

In addition, I’m learning about the system as it now exists: political parties, caucuses, primaries, and the electoral college (as opposed to the popular vote). What changes will I support?

Meanwhile, I’ll examine the candidates, then vote, even if I don’t wholly agree with all of their positions. And I’m grateful for the privilege. If you don’t think voting is a privilege, note the many countries of the world where free elections are nonexistent. I have lived in some of them and have concluded that our imperfect system remains a winner in comparison.

The system we have is imperfect, but it beats the choices available to a good many people in the world. Use it. Then change it.