No Money Means More People

There is no problem in our political system more pernicious than money. This is what politicians do more than anything else: ask for donations. According a slide deck from the Democratic National Campaign Committee [1], freshman members of Congress should expect to spend four hours on the phone every weekday—dialing for dollars. Plus another hour at fundraising events in person.

This a real PowerPoint slide. Seriously:

It’s no wonder Congress doesn’t get much done any more. Members are spending much of their time asking people for money. And for the most part, they ask the same people for money over and over again.

It’s also getting worse because the limits of how much a person can donate keep going up and up, and because of a wide variety of campaign finance vehicles [2] that allow money to be raised and spent without much transparency.

But the main problem with money in politics is that it does a great job of keeping people out of politics. Yes, that’s right. You can’t get much access to candidates or elected officials if you haven’t spent a ton of money supporting them. Which means that most people will never donate to a political campaign, which means that most of the political process is about focusing on people who (a) have money and also (b) are willing to give it to politicians and political parties.

That doesn’t sound like democracy. Politicians should be responsive to everyone, not only donors.

And that’s one of the main reasons I’m not accepting campaign donations. I want to be available to everyone. No matter the size of your bank account.

I am running for Congress, but I am not for sale.


[1] From https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/01/14/the-most-depressing-graphic-for-members-of-congress/. It’s worse now, and of course both parties do it.

[2] Like super PACs, which you’ve probably heard of, and a bunch of other examples that are more obscure.

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