The Billionaires’ Game

Guest Post by Dan Paulmeyer: Engaged Citizen

The United States of America are the most powerful country in the world. Few people would doubt that. When we are voting on a new president, the whole world watches because of the elections implications. That is why it is important for our elections to be held fairly and truly decided by the people. John Nichols and Robert McChesney show in Dollarocracy that our elections are a skewered process and need some serious changes.

As a voter in elections, I know that my vote personally won’t decide the election but I take pride in taking part of the election. Voting in the election is one of my ways to express my voice. Dollarocracy shows that elections around the country are being drastically changed by fundraising rules and that is resulting in a change to the whole election process in a way that limits my voice.

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 2.27.41 PMThe decision in Citizens United v. FEC opened up political donations and options to anonymously donate unlimited amounts. In 2012, Obama did not beat Romeny, “money beat money.” The authors summed up the effect of the decision by saying that “we have a system that is now defined more by one dollar, one vote than by one person, one vote.”  Everyday Americans are losing their voice in elections and major issues are ignored.

Storylines of elections are now being controlled by the politicians, not the media or the people. Television stations and radio stations are cutting back on the news to be able to fit in all the advertising that they can find. The quality of the news is suffering because mass media outlets have had to cut back resources in the past few years and that is leading to politicians being able to control the news more. This is not just a presidential problem. It is a national problem.

In Scott Walker’s recall election in Wisconsin, he raised “$36.1 million-three times the largest amount ever previously spent on a gubernatorial candidate in the state and more than had ever been spent by all the candidates in any previous gubernatorial campaign.” The shocking part is that nearly $22 million or 64% of individual contributions came from out of the state of Wisconsin. That means he raised most of his money for his election in state of Wisconsin from outside of the state of Wisconsin. To me, that makes no sense. The people of Wisconsin should decide the election in Wisconsin, not millionaires around the country. In the end, the total spending for Walker by his campaign and independent groups was $58.7 million.

American elections are supposed to be a time when everyday Americans select their leaders. They are supposed to make educated decisions based on their beliefs. With the current election fundraising rules, average Americans are losing their voice and the elections are being turned into a game played by billionaires. They have turned the greatest show of democracy in the world into their own personal game. I, for one, don’t want to be a part of the game.

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