Home > B3 and B4, Learning > Money: Influential or Corruptive?

Money: Influential or Corruptive?

Money plays a vital role in the election process, and ever since the early days of the Republic, money has been a major influence on candidates and their campaigns. There are essentially two points of view regarding the influence of money; as a corrupting influence and as a form of political speech needed in elections. Many Americans believe money distorts the election, and gives some candidates an unfair advantage that goes past the election itself and into the policy making process, but i disagree. And according to political scientist Daniel Shay, it was a common practice to “treat” voters, such as George Washington for example, was said to have purchased a quart of rum, wine, beer, or hard cider for every voter in the district where he ran for the Virginia House of Burgesses in 1751. Since then, money has been used to fuel campaigns, in the form of paying for campaign ads, commercials, media ads, such as TV, radio, and newspaper, and sometimes even a newspaper completely.

By the late 1960’s, money had become critical for 4 main reasons: Decline of path organizations, more voters up for grabs, television, and campaign consultants. All 4 of these reasons changed the way political campaigns are run and are the reasons why money plays such a powerful role in today’s electoral system. These reasons led to efforts to control the flow of money in elections. In response to the Supreme Court’s “Citizens United” decision, which ended with the court finding limits on corporate and union campaign spending unconstitutional, Heather K. Gerken (Professor of Law at Yale Law School), stated that, “Rather than trying to limit the power of money in politics, we should harness money’s power to fix politics.” So when answering the question of, is money a corrupting influence? I say no. I believe that money is not a corrupting influence in the election process, but that money is needed for a solid campaign to run smoothly.

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  1. nbkennard
    May 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    Hey Kirby! Really interesting points. The only thing that I would change is maybe go more in depth about the 4 critical reasons that you gave because you kind of just stated them. You should describe what they mean and how they would help with the campaign as a whole. Great post!

    • djkirby26
      May 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      Hey Nicole, Thanks! That was some good commenting you did!

  2. miranduhmoe
    May 1, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    Very informative reflection, Daniel! The only thing I would have to say is that your opinion isn’t really said until the very last sentences of the post. Maybe you could express your opinion throughout the four reasons you explained. Other than that, good job on this… it was a good one!

  3. meganri
    May 1, 2012 at 2:14 pm

    I agree with Nicole! I also agree that you should go more in depth about the critical reasons, and maybe even give an example of at least one? I think that would really clarify everything for me. Also, go in a little more deeply on why you think money is a corrupting influence. Awesome post, great job Kirbs!

  4. May 5, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    I agree with your classmates: 1) you ought to consider explaining WHY you think money is not a corrupting influence – I’m curious about your thinking; unfortunately, you don’t really offer your opinion until the end of your essay… tell us more! and 2) you’ve listed 4 critical reasons. And also, it would be helpful to hear you explain each of them and offer analysis as to why each is an important factor in terms of the rising influence of money – which factor is most influential? Is each as important as the others??

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