Fair. Balanced. American.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

On-the-ground w/SE Wisc. Dems (4 of 6): Elections under Citizens United.

The amount of fundraising that candidates for federal elections have to do is getting absolutely insane.

Around the office, some campaign workers were saying that Reps have complained that it's been bad the past few years, where as soon as you get elected you have to start fundraising for your re-election 2 years away, and that's where your time is spent when you're off the floor, with big donors, not constituents.

Now, they said, Reps are saying that it's even worse than ever.

The candidate for U.S. Rep in the district where I was at (who's not even the incumbent, he's just trying to get elected!) has been spending a ton of time making calls to New York, Boston, and Silicon Valley, "since that's our Wall Street", as the campaign workers said.

Automatically, you can see how when push comes to shove, any U.S. rep would choose the priorities of wealthy out-of-state supporters (including those contributing to the "independent" groups allowed by Citizens United) over those of their constituents.  Sure, they would do nothing that would absolutely anger their constituents, but the out-of-state contributors are def. setting policy priorities.

To my mind, esp. under Citizens United, local voters are becoming a check against extremism on the policy demands of wealthy out-of-state contributors, rather than the people for whom policy is created.

Because of that, a policy initiative will only fly as long as the set of the rich who agree with you decide to fund it (as is happening with the wealthy liberal backers who are jumping into the Wash. state gay marriage ballot stuff right now).

But what will happen when local voters want or need something that no wealthy out-of-state contributors want...?  Those issues - which likely deal with fair tax rates, commonsense regulation of monopolies, and anything like environmental regulations that could cut into profits - are the ones that will most suffer, it seems to me.

No comments :