A recent Wall Street Journal (WSJ), “Billionaires Put Their Stamp on Campaign,” makes it clear that we are watching a new political era in the United States–an era of Big Bucks Politics. If you don’t have millions in your coffers, or rich friends, get out of the proverbial political kitchen, because money is the fuel driving political elections today.
America used to decry the political culture of Latin America that seemed embroiled in the politics of money and family connections, to the point of creating political aristocracies. But reading the WSJ article reveals we can no longer point the finger (of integrity or without impunity) at the idiosyncrasies of other countries’ politics. We have our own political aristocracy.
Jeb Bush is heir apparent to the Bush political aristocracy. Even if he hadn’t had a long tenure as governor of Florida, his name alone would have cleared a path for him to take any political office and open the pockets of the wealthy.
That today’s political candidate can garner contributions of a $1M a pop or checks of $5M signals that the days of Obama and the average person single digit contribution making a difference are over–obsolete!
To run for high stakes political office today, you need a Rich (white) Daddy! Most of the high stakes contributors to Super PACs are wealthy white men. Even Hilary Clinton is reliant upon this group. Only one woman is listed in the WSJ article as being worthy of mention among this elite group-Shahla Ansary, “the wife of Iranian-American diplomat Hushang Ansary.” She and her husband seem to be on the Bush side. Thus, while Ms. Ansary may be a woman, she is spending her money like a man, backing the Bush political aristocracy.
So where does that leave those of us without a Rich (white) Daddy to bank roll us? Without such financial backing, funneled mostly through super PACs, it’s highly unlikely that a political candidate of minimal or modest means will stand any chance of getting into the political race, much less being elected.
What that means my fellow and sister Americans is that our political system is no longer represented by the people, for the people and of the people. It’s a super PACs game and only the wealthy know (and make) the rules (with their check books).
Maybe it’s time for Congress to do something and revisit the role of the super PACs, put them on a restrictive diet of regulations (with a daily vitamin regiment of humility), or simply level the political playing field by setting a limit on campaign spending.
Whatever the remedy, Super PACs need reigning in if Joe Blow or Suzie Ann Ordinary Citizen are ever to have a fair shot at throwing their hat in the political arena (on the order of our current President’s campaign model, which now is more likely to be the subject of a Smithsonian exhibit on political strategies of the past than actually replicated in the current political arena).
Today’s candidates are all about that money (compliments of Super PACs).
We need a new direction, if we ordinary people are truly to have a say in who will be our next President of these United States of America.
The clock is ticking, the checks are flowing and ordinary citizens like you and I are losing.
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Irma McClaurin is an award winning columnist, who is now syndicated. She recently earned the 2015 Best in the Nation, Emory O. Jackson Column Writing for the Black Press of America, presented by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) at the 75thAnniversary of its annual convention. The award is named after Emory O. Jackson, a Civil Rights activist and editor of the Birmingham News from 1941-1975. She is the Culture and Education editor for Insight News, an activist anthropologist, writer, motivational speaker and proponent of diversity and inclusiveness leadership. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org Find her at: www.irmamcclaurin.com, @mcclaurintweets
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