The original introduction to this post was very serious, and to be honest, sounded way to over the top patriotic for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love this country, but at some point you go from. “I love this country and the freedoms that I get to enjoy within it.” To. “They’re taking our freedoms away from us every chance they get and the Socialist Nazi’s that run this country are to blame.” Yeah, I don’t want to sound like that second one. So instead, I deleted the entire intro and rewrote it to be more like me and not an insane super patriot. At any rate, as I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed that there seems like there are some issues with the processes that are used to elect politicians into office. Issues that could possibly affect how the politicians think and how they serve their people. Click through to read on.
Allow me to break down the things that I’ve seen that concern me. I’m not planning on explaining what these things are, I figure if you’re reading this you probably have a good idea as it is.
- Political Parties.
- Political parties were originally intended to group together candidates with similar values and beliefs. Back then, if your beliefs were more in line with those of Republicans you would vote for the Republican candidates, likewise for Democrats. Recently, however, the beliefs of candidates seem to blur and quite often cross into the opposite party’s field. So the whole, “they have the same values and beliefs as me,” doesn’t really work anymore.
- At some point Republican and Democrat became the political parties, if a candidate wanted even the slightest chance of getting elected they would run for one of those. The candidates that attempt to run under one of the lesser known parties are likely to get left in the dust. How about write-in candidates, their chances seem to be lower than the lesser known parties. Check out Jack Rooney’s website, here, he ran as a write-in candidate for Indiana Senator in the 2010 election. The site is tragically amusing, as if it were designed back in the early 90s, but not as tragically amusing as his video at the top. Go ahead, watch it, I’ll wait…. Surprisingly enough this guy ended up only getting a small handful of votes. Around election time you’ll hear a lot of talk about who has control of the House and the Senate. Other parties, like Libertarians, will get lumped in with the Democrats. But I’m thinking, if the point of political parties is to group together like-minded candidates how does rolling them up with Democrats work? Just in case you need further evidence, take a look at a political cartoon where the topic deals with elections and what you’ll most likely see is a Donkey and an Elephant. Based on that you’d think the media has decided that its simply a two player game with no space for additional players.
- Given all of that it just doesn’t seem that political parties serve their purpose anymore. Which brings us to the true problem, many voters will select straight ticket at the voting booth based on the simple assumption that doing so ensures that whomever lands in office will have the same values and practices as themselves. How can this be a reliable method of voting when the candidates don’t necessarily vote along with the values of their party.
- Campaign Contributions.
- Campaigns are expensive. I’ve never run a political campaign before so I don’t know what all you need but nothing is free. You’ll need a metric ton of signs, a bitchin’ campaign bus plus fuel, advertising time and space everywhere to badmouth your opponents (which is really expensive by the way), and food for all of your faithful volunteers.
- At Follow the Money one can see in mind numbing detail where the money comes from and who it’s going to. Of particular interest is a table of the top 10,000 contributors. I won’t go into who is actually on the list, if you really want to look at it you’re more than welcome, you can get to it here. Just be forewarned, you may pass out from boredom just by clicking on the link. On the first few pages I noticed that I couldn’t find any individual contributors close to the top. I saw large corporations and larger organizations donating as high as eight figures to various politicians. In case you resisted the urge to click on the link, I know it was difficult, beneath the names of the corporations and organizations is the industry that they are involved in. Here’s a short list of them, gambling, real estate, payday loans, oil, telecom, tobacco, healthcare, it goes on. Think back, you rarely hear of a corporation just giving away free money. There not just going to give away money unless there’s something in it for them. It is said that this money is given to specific candidates that support their group’s causes and values. However, I just can’t stop myself from thinking that perhaps its more like a gift of persuasion. Something along the lines of “We’ll give you this wad of cash if you’ll do something in return for us when you get elected.