Nowhere in the Constitution or in the writings and speeches of America's founding fathers is there talk of "government by the corporations, for the special interests and of those who raise a lot of money." Yet, for the most part that's what we have in Washington, DC and in many state capitols today. Weak and inherently corrupt campaign finance laws favor incumbents and candidates who raise the most cash. It's to those sources of cash that candidates and office holders have become more beholden than to the people who actually vote for them.
In the good ol' days, politicians crossed the land listening to voters to get a sense of what they needed and what they expected of their elected representatives. Today, politicians spend most of their time attending fundraisers where special interests tell them which causes to support if they want the stream of campaign contributions to continue flowing. The candidate who raises the most money buys the most media exposure, thereby gaining a significant advantage in selling their message to the voters. The outcome of the election becomes a foregone conclusion.
This has got to change. Special interest money should not be used to effectively shut out the less-financed candidate and thereby rob voters of the right to hear equally from the two or more candidates who will be on their ballot. The rights of the individual voter must be protected.
How to do this? Without violating free speech and other rights, develop campaign reform that accomplishes the following:
- Outlaw campaign donations from corporations, unions and all types of business entities. They can't vote, they shouldn't get a voice.
- Outlaw PAC contributions to candidates or causes. Like corporations, they don't vote, either.
- Cap individual campaign contributions so that wealthier donors can't outspend those who have less to donate
- Require incumbents to reimburse the government for all travel, security and other expenses used for their campaign activities
These basic protections of #VotersRights would start the process of reducing the undue influence of special interests and create a level playing field for candidates and causes. Details of implementation should be debated to enact laws that protect liberty while ensuring fair elections. These #Voters rights would empower the voters to elect and hold accountable that which Abraham Lincoln proposed:
"Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the Earth."