American Elections and Democracy; All About Money

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by Sami Jamil Jadallah

 

Here in this great country of ours we can be proud of having the best universities, the best technology and IT companies, the best medical centers, the best research organizations and perhaps the most generous of all nations, the people of the United States. However Democracy, elections and financial institutions and national media are not one of these things we can be proud of. In fact America should be the last country to talk about or promote democracy and free elections to the world.

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On November 4th,, may be less than 50% of the more than 146 million eligible voters will turn up at poll stations to vote for all 435 house seats and 36-senate seats in a mid-term election. On the other hand, Presidential elections take place every 4 years. The estimated money spent on this election is $4 billions at a cost of $278 per voter.

If you are like me, you would have received dozens of messages everyday, from political parties and candidates seeking not your vote but your money, and every 10 days it seems they are desperate calls for money. Democrats are doing their best to out raise the Republicans but they are not able to.

Now just imagine this. The costs of running for house seat average is $1.5 – $3 millions depending on the importance of the House seat. The costs of running for a Senate seat can run anywhere between $15-$30 millions, again depending on the importance of the senate seat.

Well, with that kind of money, no wonder that elected officials are willing to sell their mothers and grandmothers, sell the country, even sell their soul to the devil and the devil here are the big donors and what is called the Super Pac.

Unregulated money in an unregulated elections where corporations are deemed “citizens” in terms of freedom of speech and contribution to elections but not citizens to go to jail for looting, cheating and committing all kinds of financial fraud. Imagine that not a single bank president or senior officer went to jail for the crimes they committed in the financial meltdown of the United States and the world. More troublesome these financial institutions paid over $100 billion in legal fees to make sure they do not make “whole” all the poor suckers who lost their homes to foreclosures.

Since money is every thing in American elections, major issues such as jobs, health care, job retraining, re-industrialization, fixing our deteriorating and falling apart infrastructure, high costs of education, privacy and security from a militarized and “Israelized” police force, poverty, social security, take a back seat to a single issue such as “guns’ and “gay marriage”. Not that these issues are not important to certain segment of society but other issues are and should be equally important.

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Of course with that kind of money needed, rich and powerful people with their own agenda for the nation step in and contribute hundreds of millions of dollars to sponsor advertisement promoting their own agenda and of course their own candidates.

The likes of Sheldon Adelson spent hundreds of millions of dollars each election cycle to promote and to get elected officials committed and loyal to his only agenda “ Israel”. Potential candidates crawl on their hands and knees begging for their share of such money. They travel to Israel to get the blessing before they travel down the streets to meet the people who are out of jobs and hungry.

The Koch brothers are no different. They too have their own agenda; an America of their own image, where the rich live tax-free and the poor labor and starve. However not all big time contributors are “conservatives”. There are also big time spenders like Thomas Steyer who in the last election contributed over $73 millions to a “liberal agenda”!

So my friends let us think about these issues this election and let us decide next time whether it is their money or our votes that really win elections.

I do not understand why out of state or out of district money should be allowed in elections. There must be a law that limits the money raised for elections to the congressional district or the state for senate seat. This way those rich guys from Texas or Vegas do not influence “elections” in Virginia or Tennessee.

It is up to the people of the congressional district or the state that should make such financial contributions. Other wise we might as well have a ‘national election” where citizens of the United States vote for all 435 house seats and the 36 senate seats on a national ballot.

Too bad the US Supreme Court in “Citizens United” added to what is this already corrupt political system. The days of the two party systems should be outnumbered. Democrats before Republicans should disband. America desperately needs political parties that truly are representative the citizens of the United States not lobbies and special interest groups, that do represent the super rich.

Let us think together what we can do in the next election cycle to change at least some of the rules of the games. If the Tea Party can make a difference, then an America First organization or party should make all the difference.

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