The $6 Billion Election

That’sa lotta dough

This is a tough one. For my liberal friends it’s easy enough, because money isn’t speech in any way to them. Corporations are the problem—only. For me, I see giving money as an expression of my political will and therefore, a kind of speech. Additionally, corporations are collections of individuals who have every right to express their collective interest, just as unions do. In fact, traditionally, unions have given much more than corporations and wealthy individuals to Congressional races as the graph above illustrates.

Still, corporate money, union money, it’s all corrupting. We know it. The politicians know it. This is our system. And it’s not a good thing.

I think that if the politicians were smart—ahem—they’d voluntarily get together at the beginning of an election and collectively agree on an amount to be raised for that election cycle. The politicians wouldn’t have to whore themselves out as much, and could avoid going into debt, as happens occasionally (just ask Newt). Additionally, the campaigns would know the size of the playing field from the outset which could be seen as an advantage in many elections for all the candidates running for an office.

There are big issues with this of course. One of the reasons incumbents stay incumbents is because they can crush challengers with money raised. Many incumbents would never put themselves on equal footing. But in some races at least, it could work. It would, however, take real leadership to make this kind of leap, and leadership is something often lacking in our leaders.

Click here for the more on this year’s bonanza of political giving from OpenSecrets.org.