North Texas Daily

Looking closely at the political world’s money

Looking closely at the political world’s money

February 11
14:45 2016

Sidney Johnson | Staff Writer

@Sidjohn87

Money in politics is more of an issue in politics now than ever before. Old-school politicians like Jeb Bush are relying on the dated method of using big corporate money as fuel and the effects have proved detrimental to the working-poor and middle-class.

If we are to assess the danger of money in politics, we must first get to the meat of the issue. The landmark cases of Buckley v. Valeo, McCutcheon v. FEC and 2010’s Citizens United v. FEC have proved instrumental in giving corporations, unions and non-profits qualification for limitless contributions to candidates. Goldman Sachs, for example, has contributed $250,000-$500,000 to the Hillary Clinton Foundation as well as $1 million to Sen. Ted Cruz directly. It would be naïve to suggest this is solely based on its policies.

In the words of former President Jimmy Carter: “We’ve seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want, expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election is over.”

The negative effects of money in politics are manifested in policy and legislation, or lack thereof.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney is credited with creating the “Halliburton Loophole,” which exempts the crude practice of fracking from the Safe Drinking Water Act of 1974.

Furthermore, in April of 2013, President Obama introduced his 2014 budget, which included $23 billion for clean energy and would end “inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.” But with a Republican-led House, these issues are often decided by big money interest at the peril of the will of the majority, a direct violation of our foundation as a nation.

The correlation between Super PAC spending and poll numbers cannot be ignored, but it’s not what you may think.

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has received the largest amount from Super PACs amounting over $120 million while his bully – GOP frontrunner Donald Trump – has no Super PAC. You would think a Bush would have a hefty lead against a narcissistic misogynist that retweets neo-Nazi propaganda, right?

Wrong.

Jeb Bush has virtually nothing to show for his $120 million and is barely holding on while Trump continues to thrive by his hate-filled rhetoric.

Yet, in the midst of this insane and sometimes comical show that is our current political system, there is hope.

Last week, Vox Media polled Americans, asking if they were in favor of a “political revolution” by redistributing wealth from the super-rich to the working-poor and middle-class. The poll showed that 54 percent of Americans were in favor of this “Political Revolution.”

Even more telling were the 51 percent of Independents and 54 percent of Tea Party supporters polled were also on board. If this wave holds true, we could witness this revolution and begin to amend the wrongdoings of corporate donors who’ve caused to our election process.

The only question that remains is each side’s definition of the words “political revolution,” as it’s hard to know if a hard-lined Tea Partier would desire to shake things up the same way a Democratic Socialist might.

The standard of cranking out television ads, accepting donor checks and touring the country shaking hands and kissing babies to get into office is becoming stale. Policy is finally being effectively broken down and social media (in part) has given the power of informed discernment to an unprecedented amount of voters. Citizens can now fact-check faster than ever.

The injustice dealt to American citizens by establishment politicians is clearer than it has ever been.

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