The Effects of Corporate Lobbying, Pt. 3: Take Action
By Josh Sager
Should citizens work towards getting money out of politics?
In a word, yes. The American people must fight against money in politics if we wish to have any influence in our government and, by extension, public policy.
The US government was originally intended to be a constitutional republic, where voters decide upon representatives who represent their interests. Unfortunately, lobbying and the extreme increase of money in politics have perverted the integrity of our government to the point where policy is tailored to the rich. While it may be possible for some citizens to recapture control over their elected officials, lobbyist money will still control the government in aggregate. The only way that the USA will return to a country where the will of the population controls policy is a complete reform of lobbying and campaign finance reform.
But how do we do this?
Unfortunately, the problem of money in politics is very difficult to solve using traditional politics; the system is so bought by interests that it is virtually impossible for citizens to push money out of power. With the Citizen’s United v. FEC decision classifying money as speech, there are only three realistic methods by which money will leave politics:
- Another decision by the Supreme Court – As the Supreme Court is not elected, there is no way for the population to push for this, nor is it likely that the currently corporate-friendly court will change its decision.
- A constitutional amendment – By pushing for a constitutional amendment banning money as speech, Americans can get around Citizens United and virtually ensure that money will lose control over policy. A constitutional amendment can be created by the federal legislature or a constitutional convention called by the states; as there is no chance of a super-majority banning money in politics being created in the federal legislature, the only possible path is to call a constitutional convention on the state level.
- The creation of a small money party – It is possible that a party will form, united in the ideal that money should leave politics. If enough Americans are disgusted by the control that special interests have over policy, it is possible that a small-money, populist party could raise enough money to compete on the level of mainstream politics. This option is somewhat unlikely, as gathering enough small donations to fight a single $10 million donation from a billionaire is difficult, if not impossible, and third party groups have little success in modern politics.
Getting money out of politics is an issue which concerns everyone in this country. As previously detailed, money in politics has concrete and severe consequences on the American public. We must take back our government from the wealthy interests who have attempted (and sometimes succeeded) to buy our politics for personal profit.
To take action, you can do the following:
Join or organize protests - Protest publicly and join groups intended on fighting the influence of money in politics. Money may buy politicians but it cannot by votes. Large numbers of protesters can dissuade politicians from selling out (at least in obviously egregious ways); because of this, your involvement can actually decrease the effects of money in politics (this is not a permanent fix, as money will always be a factor for as long as it is allowed in politics).
Volunteer your time and skills for Wolf PAC – Wolf PAC is a political action committee focused exclusively upon removing money from the political process through a constitutional amendment. They are using a multi-state strategy and require volunteer assistance in virtually every state, as well as online. Right now, Wolf PAC needs donations, writers, artists to make videos and images, news junkies, and more. Send an email to volunteer!
Sign petitions demanding that money separate from politics: