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American Crossroads Leading the Way

May 17, 2012 Leave a comment

In our government class we have supplemented our earning with the study of classical documents from the Declaration of Independence to Federalist #78.  The study of these documents that lay at the heart of America has given us the ability to gain an educational perspective when analyzing current events.  When we began our discussion of the election process we were taught the essential role that money plays in elections.  After our task was completed, we were asked if money is a corrupting influence or a vital form of political speech.  Then and now I believe that the distribution of money is a vital tool of political expression that the people have the right to.

Recently while glancing through the Financial times the headline “Super-pacs rack up cash for Republicans” caught my eye.  Upon further investigation I realized that this article explained how a Republican super-Pac (political action committee) known as American Crossroads has “the largest of the new campaign groups dominating US politics.”  American Crossroads has raised around $100 million dollars for the 2012 presidential elections and is expected to raise up to $200 million more to support the republican presidential candidate.  While this super-Pac is thriving others such as the most prosperous pro-Obama Pac, Priorities USA Action, are beginning to struggle.  The notion of a super-Pac is almost frowned upon by many Democratic supporters, making the support of such groups on the democratic side very low.

After the preliminary shock from seeing the quantity of money raised by such an organization I researched more on the subject.  American Crossroads is headed and CEO and President Steven J. Law who formerly served the United States Deputy Secretary of Labor under president George W. Bush.  This super-Pac holds strong to conservative views and is determined to see an Obama free white house after the 2012 election.  Though much criticism has been directed towards American Crossroads due to the undisclosed nature of many of their donations, Law claimed in an interview with CBS this was because some donors are “concerned about a culture of intimidation” not because of any illegal reasons.  American Crossroads has targeted democrats through the house and the senate but specifically President Obama.  Through the help of their funding they have been able to assemble ads focusing of the specific section of the population that were Obama voters in previous elections.  An example of these skillfully crafted video’s titled “Backward” explains the damage the Obama administration has done to this country and how this rewinding must stop.

With the support behind Romney and the Republican Party growing every day we are truly able to see the impact that these Republican super-Pacs have had.  Without these committees being able to gather funds from fellow supporters of a common cause our political system would be largely different and the people’s voice would be hushed.  With the backing of a strong organization such as American crossroads the Republican Party has a sizable chance of defeating Obama in the upcoming election.  Without the people’s ability to contribute to the Republican’s campaigning this chance would be gone.  As discussed in the Constitution the people have a right to a voice in the political process and in this modern age donations have become an easily accessible medium for this voice.


Reflecting on Representation

April 24, 2012 3 comments

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Over this past trimester we have explored the workings of the United States government piece by piece.  We have studied areas from the crucial foundations of political parties to the presidency that the dream of obtaining.  Through activities and critical readings we have not only studied these areas, but also questioned the features of our rapidly changing society that affect them.  For me the most intriguing topic that I have come across in our studies is the social media’s effect on legislator’s representation.

The first document we read on this topic was Kennedy’s “The legislator as Trustee”.  After a careful analysis of this Journal we were able to understand Kennedy’s viewpoint that legislators “represent their local interests.”(pg. 177) and that though they take into consideration the views of the people,  it is their opinion that should ultimately decide their vote.

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Next we read a journal from the 1812 Commonwealth of Virginia.  This journal, titled “The Legislator as Delegate” explained their reasoning behind their view that the legislator’s had the responsibility to express the will of the people who put them there.  To the Commonwealth of Virginia, “the people have a right to instruct their representatives, that no man ought to be chosen that will not receive instructions.” (pg 184-185).

After both articles had been read and questions had been answered we were challenged with questions concerning how the two articles related to current times.  Though both of these articles were written before the time of the Internet, I found it shocking that is was the Commonwealth of Virginia that was able to predict the future role of the legislator.  The idea sharing capabilities of social media has caused legislators to become more “delegate-like” than ever before.  With 79%of the American population using the Internet, social media sites can be used as a simple random sample of the United States population.  Legislators these days are to turn to these sites to gain an understanding of the people’s view that they represent.

These sites not only help the Legislator understand his people but also the people understand their Legislator.  Sites like Propublica allow every day citizens access to a wealth of knowledge about current events and about the people that are involved in these current events.   Sites like these let voters research the way that senators and congressmen are voting and their views on specific issues such as the SOPA and PIPA bills.  This effect of social media forces Legislators to stay on their toes and realize that if they go against what the people they represent want, they will find out.  In this sense, social media causes Legislator’s to be Delegates due to the fact that if they don’t, they risk re-election and with that their career.  Another way that social media helps the people know their Legislator is through Legislators use of social media sites themselves (i.e. Facebook, Twitter…Etc.).  Take Congressman Pete Sessions, representative of the 32nd district in Texas.  His use of a Facebook page and a Twitter account allows the people he represents incite into his decisions and views and literally and figuratively to “comment” on them.

Considering the activity we did in class and the first hand experience of researching the topic, I believe that there is no question about the fact that in our modern world a Legislators duty is as a delegate.  The development of social media sites has allowed legislators to become better delegates than ever before.  These considering all of this the question must be presented, Is it even possible for a Legislator to act as a trustee anymore?

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