Monday, September 20, 2010


Election reform with benefits

If your vote was for sale, how much would you charge? Would that price change according to the issues at hand in each election cycle? Would you charge more if you were unhappy with a candidate’s platform, or would you even care about their platform so long as they were willing to pay up?  [Common Blog, How much is your vote worth?, 9/20/2010]

by Larry Geller

Ah, maybe others are coming around to my way of thinking.

Candidates for political office are willing to spend big for votes. The way it works, though, is that the voters don’t ever see the money.  Unfair!

We voters can change this. If we work it right, there could be a whole new market that will profit voters directly. It will also eliminate the low voter turnout that seems to bug newspaper columnists though no one else cares much. You already know where I’m going with this.  [Disappeared News, 9/6/2010]

The idea isn’t really on the table yet. But here’s another article which raises the question. Good. Of course, it highlights the absurdity of the American system of voting in which big banks, corporations and ideological entities bid for control of “our” government.

The Common Blog article linked above (thanks to Common Cause Hawaii’s Nikki Love for the tweeted link) reports that one Connecticut candidate “spent $454 of her own money on each vote she got.”  And

The record expenditure, according to self-funding expert Jennifer Steen at Arizona State University, is about $900 per vote, which is how much Massachusetts businessman Chris Gabrieli (D) forked over in his 1998 House campaign. He came in sixth.

Mufi had the money but Mufi didn’t win. It doesn’t matter. Like other candidates, he raised funds and spent it to win votes.

The money is gathered largely from business or corporate donors and goes to other corporations–the media. We voters are out of the loop.

I don’t know if the discussion is tongue-in-cheek or serious. I just resent being a pawn in someone else’s game. And in a recession, how come we never do as well as the corporations that pony up to candidates running for office? They consider their political contributions to be an investment.

Election reform advocates (and I count myself one) struggle to remove corporate influence from politics. At the same time, the US Supreme Court undoes our efforts by incarnating corporations as “people” with free speech rights. What a setback. I hope the people win one day. But in the meantime, I wonder how long it will be before corporations discover how to:

Invest in America! Support your local voter.


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