Archive for May, 2010

The More They Take

Friday, May 14th, 2010

The inalienable rights of man may not be a zero-sum game, but lately it seems like the more rights we citizens have to share with corporations, the more they have and the less we keep. A recent report by the National Institute on Money in State Politics highlights the increased threat that campaign donations pose to our democracy, exacerbated by the supreme court’s recent decision that the amendment protecting freedom of speech and press also extends to unlimited, anonymous campaign contributions. Specifically, the report throws into sharp relief the difference between the viability of candidates running behind just a platform and those running behind a platform and the mighty bulwark of fund raising and incumbency. It’s no surprise that candidates have gotten so caught up in the money chase that they only stop to listen to their constituents when they’re positive it could mean their job if they don’t. The study also notes that in states with partial or complete public financing programs, non-incumbent candidates with no monetary advantage had a higher chance of winning than in states with no public financing programs. Here in the old north state, our legislature has made it clear that ethics and campaign finance reform are not priorities for them, an attitude far too common in our elected officials. Is it the vorpal sword to campaign corruption’s Jabberwock? No, but right now voter-owned elections are the best chance for the people of this country to make their interests more important than the interests of the Fortune 500.