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Money Causing Hazy Elections

Photo Source: KCET

We are all aware of the massive deficit that spending habits and tax cuts has placed America in. The money that our President spent on his election in 2012 does not help his case in fixing our debt crisis. Through burning cash on his campaign, Obama spent nearly one billion dollars on his last election victory (NY Times).  Two billion total dollars were spent on an election while America spent 3.54 trillion and only received 2.45 trillion in 2011 (Budget Challenge). Though two billion dollars is less than one percent of a trillion, cutting these funds would do more than Obama has accomplished in spending cuts. The spendthrift qualities of a candidate cause me to question the already ambiguous character of a politician. The capitalistic approach of the American dream has tainted the democracy and morality of elections.

Since the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010, Political Action Committees have become a way for candidates to bank off of big money corporations. The case declared “government may not keep corporations or unions from spending money to support or denounce individual candidates in elections.” PACs are developed “for the purpose of raising and spending money to elect and defeat candidates”. These PACs raise tremendous amounts of money that allow the wealthy to support their favorite candidate and help him or her gain a competitive edge. Many have questioned the power of money; including Ezra Klein when he claims the committees give “the rich too much sway” (News Week). Although the donation of money has been protected under the First Amendment, the Fourteenth Amendment can also argued as broken. In no way do the mega donations from the wealthy give the poor an equal right to express their opinion. Thus, elections are skewed to the preferences of only one group of people and are not necessarily democratic.

Photo Source: Cartoon Movement

Elections are no longer a competition of who has better leadership virtues, but rather who has more money. These prodigal habits seem necessary for victory considering 95% of House candidates who outspend their opponent win (Business Insider). However, the vulnerability of American voters allows campaigns to grow obsessed with outward appearance rather than inward character. At this point, morality of elections is at its ultimate low. Candidates now spend more time advertising themselves than actually creating a reliable plan. Once he or she is elected, there is not a well thought out plan that a representative can resort to. With money in elections, equivocation of politicians has hit its highest point and the running of the government has become even more unpredictable. Sen. Evan Bayh, a democratic Senator who has chosen to retire from politics, claims that candidates spend “90 percent of their time raising money, that’s time they’re not spending with constituents or with public policy experts” (News Week). The problem with money in elections is that the candidate who spends more time with his constituents and policy experts than his advertisement manager will not win the election. PACs cloud candidates who are morally true and exemplify those who are more publically involved.

Money in elections today has created an unfair balance for the rich candidate and voter. The burning of billions of dollars on elections while America is in debt yields an increasingly skewed playing field . An unlimited budget and a capitalistic economy do not add up to a leveled competition in today’s society. The inequitable advantage screams for change. As Americans, we must reduce susceptibility to advertisements and demand a policy that creates an equal, democratic, and ethical playing field in politics.

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