Money in politics and its corrosive political gridlock

Money has always been important in political campaigns, but now huge money donations come from international or globalist corporations, and most congressional legislation is no longer benefiting the nation or the average American.

There are political action committees or PACs, dark money, and non-profit educational corporations doing the ideological bidding of candidates.  Even with money transparency laws for all political contributions and strict limits on campaign financing, money from independent groups will always find a way to support incumbents in direct and indirect ways.

It is no secret that a majority of politicians often spend more than half their time soliciting campaign funds for the next election.  Changing this reality is really mission almost impossible.

To put it bluntly, the political system is rigged on the national and local levels.  The duopoly of Democrats and Republicans reigns supreme, and any hope of a third party gaining popularity is highly improbable.  Only about 10% of congressional elections are marginally competitive, with all mostly favoring incumbents, with about 90% of the money collected going to them.

It all begins in the primaries, where only about 20% of registered voters determine whether the incumbent will continue in power or be replaced by a rare upstart who has many unfair procedural rules to follow, all favoring the incumbent.  Because of the near collapse of the establishment media's investigative reporting, calling out false attack ads and pointing out political corruption are becoming a lost art with little hope that political money corruption will surface in the foreseeable future.

Neal Simon, an unsuccessful independent Senate candidate in Maryland, has detailed how broken the political system is in his book Contract to Unite America: Ten Reforms to Reclaim Our Republic.  He offers some ten ways to make the system more responsive to the American public.  Simon has done a good job outlining what should be done and what probably won't be done in all fifty states at both the national and local levels.

It is very easy to become cynical and say nothing substantive can be done to improve U.S. politics.

At your peril, ignore politics, and hope it won't get much worse and result in a tyranny of corporate oligarchs and one-party rule.  If you are an optimist and hope to make a political difference someday, then here are four excerpts of what Simon advocates to return some power back to American voters who historically and presently feel disenfranchised.

On the national level, a constitutional amendment to make term limits a reality.  Two terms for senators and three for congressmen.  This is an attempt to eliminate career politicians and somewhat reduce the incumbent campaign contributions necessary for political office.

On the national level, a campaign transparency act to reveal the donors of contributions of $100 or more and distinguishing between corporate and individual contributions.  Perhaps this is the most important change needed because if you can follow the money, then it is often possible to publicly pinpoint the source of corruption and then take measures against this corruption.

On the national, which is actually local, level, civics education should become mandatory in all high schools so citizens are aware of what the Constitution says and what legal rights they have in the country.

On the local level, open primaries for all candidates along with a reduction in the number of ballot signatures to not more than 5,000 necessary to get on the voting roll.

On the local level, a politically unbiased drawing of congressional districts, although this is a difficult thing to legislate since independent commissions are often not truly independent and unbiased.

We must realize that if we can't get out of political gridlock, the American democratic republic will no longer be the gold standard for the constitutions of other countries in the world.  Not only do we lack moral leadership in the world, but our political system is becoming a laughingstock of the world.  Congressional gridlock and an addiction to deficit spending are rapidly plunging the economy into an abyss.

Current politics is largely a circus where most politicians sell their souls to the highest bidder.

I look at vehicle traffic with accidents a relative rarity, most riding relatively new cars, store shelves and Amazon filled with many products to buy.  I look at humans going through self-check registers and standing in line — are all signs of civility.  Basically everywhere that I go, I see orderly public behavior.  I still have hope in the American people and know they will come through any crisis that may befall the nation.  Life is good for me, and people are more resilient than we give them credit for.  I recharge with much optimism for America every time I take a break from politics and go into public places.

Yes, I, fortunately, don't live in a crime-ridden urban poverty hellhole, but neither do most Americans.  So nationwide, most Americans are doing just fine and have survived the pandemic without starving.

The political system is largely split, with much money corruption, but I am thankful that there are still some good people out there advocating reasonable reforms to a dysfunctional divided political system.

Image: Pixabay, Pixabay License.

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