A Big, Genuine Thank You to You, Donald Trump
For stating how you and other rich folks and corporations buy the policies, privileges and even financing you want from our desperate-for campaign-donations elected officials
By Dallas Cole
As longtime believers in the deep need to fundamentally change how our campaigns are funded, we wanted to take a moment to thank you dear Mr. Trump for revealing the absurd dilemma long at the heart of our corrupted political system.
Namely, we deeply appreciate your candid admission that you personally, along with other rich folks and big corporations, buy all the votes you need via campaign contributions to get whatever you want from the government. And do so at every level of government.
It’s great to see you just put it out there that our elected officials don’t work for us, only for who pays for their campaigns. As you put it in your Time Magazine interview:
“I have friends who are in Congress and they run every two years...As soon as that cycle is up, you know they win their election, then they take one day off and then the next day they start fundraising. All they do it fundraise. They don’t really govern. They just fundraise. Their whole life is raising money…I mean that’s all they do is raise money...
“They’re puppets. I’m the only non-puppet in the group…
“I need something from the Speaker of the House or I need something from somebody. We’re talking really human nature, okay…It’s the rare politician that can do what’s right in the face of massive contributions. And who can blame them….So when David [Koch, president of Koch Industries (mostly oil)] calls and needs something, do you think they’re going to say no?... It’s pretty much impossible.
“I wish good luck to all of the Republican [Presidential] candidates that traveled to California to beg for money etc. from the Koch Brothers. Puppets?”
With such statements, Trump has forced money politics into the Republican presidential conversation and drawn in supporters tired of the status quo. Trump isn't corruptible, he asserts; he's corrupting. Unfortunately, Trump won’t support the obvious solution: A Constitutional amendment taking private money out of politics in favor of public campaign financing.
What difference would this make? Consider that a scholarly analysis of 1,779 policy outcomes over a period of more than 20 years concluded that “economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence." In short, the rich and powerful achieve policy outcomes at the expense of the rest of us because our elected officials are corrupted by campaign contributions.
Another reason we thank Trump is that his mere existence in the race and ability to spend $1 billion of his own funds reminds us that the fundamental problems with our system stem not only from The Supreme Court in Citizens United allowing unfettered campaign spending. As bad is a much older case holding that money is speech. This created a system in which a rich person (almost certainly a white male) spending $1 million to make his voice heard, is effectively the same as one million people across the country sending a tweet, and receives the same free speech protection.
Most importantly, we thank Trump for proving that there is genuine appetite for combating corruption among Republican voters, creating an opening for candidates at all levels. Citizens United and the rise of SuperPACs has made the public hungry for the creation of a level playing field, and Trump is the only Republican talking about that in clear, aggressive and authentic terms.
However, as much as we appreciate Trump for highlighting our broken system, he has not presented plans for reform. WE URGE HIM TO DO SO instead of seeming to embrace the SuperPACs and fundraising he has criticized.