With Money in Politics, the Juice is Definitely NOT Worth the Squeeze

Democrats have offered plenty of justifications for abandoning principles over the years. How’s that working out?

Democrats are fond of saying that their complicity in playing the campaign finance game and bending to the will of well-heeled campaign donors and their lobbyists is the price which must be paid to stay in power and effect positive changes elsewhere.

So, how’s that working out?

The problem with this approach is that every time a person compromises their principles, they drift farther away from being a principled person.

No one sets out to be the caretaker of a corrupt system, but that is exactly what happens when one keeps employing these sorts of misguided justifications.

We’ve been hearing this refrain for literally decades now, so when does the payoff come?

The political payback for campaign donations are legion; plentiful and often easy to identify.
The good things that come as a result of this sacrifice? Not so much.

The only way we will actually solve our most pressing problems, not just slap band-aids on them or kick the can down the road for someone else to deal with, is to change the fundamental rules under which government operates. We must fight for reforms which allow elected officials to govern as their conscience dictates, rather than as the special interests who fund their campaigns demand.

Commissioned work (shared rights) Kloss/Peters 2004

Republicans are brazenly unapologetic about their willingness to accept this pay-to-play system, but most ​Democrats claim to be against it, even as they continue to participate.

Yes, the Democratic Party has at times put forward legislation designed to curb the influence of money on politics, but have they actually fought for these reforms; taking their case to the people and insisting that the current pay-to-play system is at the heart of the frustrations felt by many Americans?

The short answer is no.

Instead, Democrats have become very skilled at putting forth Optics Legislation — proposals or bills that they know have little chance of getting passed, but which allow them to claim come election time that they wanted to fix the problem but simply couldn’t because of Republicans / the economy / the current political climate / Blue Dog Democrats / Etc.

This is a cop out and the opposite of genuine leadership.

‘But please keep voting for us, because next time will totally be different.’

Personal Photo. Original copyright Peanuts Worldwide LLC

If Democrats truly believed that we need to get money out of politics, they would push reforms regardless of the political cost to them personally. That they so consistently fail to do is an indication of where their priorities actually lie.

They may say that running against well-funded opponents without special interest money is impossible, but when have they ever even tried? If the Democratic Party were to en masse run a campaign funded only by small donations, centered around a message of principled resistance to special interest money, they could call into question a system they keep claiming needs to be fixed, but never push to do so in any meaningful sort of way.

Democrats rarely try to sway public opinion. Generally, they just ride the most expedient wave that comes along.

Until this changes, how can a party funded by big-money donations claim to represent the average American; to be the party of the little guy?

Democrat’s justifications for why they must take special interest money and provide the requisite political payback ring hollow in the face of decades of proof that the sacrifice is very real, but the promised payoff is clearly an illusion the party will keep selling as long as we allow them to get away with it.

So, the next time you hear a Democrat justify their participation in this system of political payback for campaign donations, or explain why a policy that enjoys broad public support is somehow unattainable, please understand what it is they are actually saying:

Keeping my job is more important to me than doing my job.

Originally published at https://www.equalityofopportunity.com.



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Jeremy Peters

Jeremy Peters


Writer of Fiction, Political Commentary & More. Host of Equality of Opportunity Political Podcast (@EqualOppPodcast). On Twitter @JPeters_Author.