Bernie’s strongest issue is campaign finance reform. This is his statement:
Let’s be honest and acknowledge what we are talking about. We are talking about a rapid movement in this country toward a political system in which a handful of very wealthy people and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected. That is not what this country is supposed to be about. That was not Abraham Lincoln’s vision of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
As former President Jimmy Carter recently said, unlimited money in politics, “violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now, it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. Senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over.”
The need for real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans, regardless of their political point of view, who wish to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world, a government that represents all of the people and not a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests.
Although I reject Bernie’s Marxist ideology, I respect him for his staunch advocacy on this issue: In January 2010, in a case of massive judicial overreach, the Supreme Court issued a decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission that swept aside more than a century of legal precedent that banned corporate money from political campaigns. In this narrowly decided 5-4 decision, the Court overturned the foundation of America’s campaign finance laws that had prevented wealthy individuals and large corporations from gaining even more influence over the American political system. Senator Sanders described Citizens United as “one of the worst decisions ever brought about by the Supreme Court of this country.”
Bernie gets it right on campaign finance reform. Instead of acting on the concerns of their constituents, our politicians often sell out to the biggest cash donors. It is called “dark money” for a reason, and it’s time that Congress and federal agencies exposed the fat cats. We must demand transparency and accountability in government, the best government that money can buy.
Cronyism dominates the political arena. If we could limit some of this, imagine the reforms that would take place:
- Big Pharma: Ever wonder why costs of prescription medications are escalating? Big Pharma was the #1 industry for political lobbying: $230M in 2015.
- Big Health Insurers: So much for Obama’s promise that premiums would decrease. Didn’t you question the surge in Big Insurer stock prices after Obamacare passed? “Meanwhile, as Americans are suffering from rising costs and less access to quality health care, the biggest winners from the passage of Obamacare are the insurance giants.”
- Big Hospitals: Ever wonder why your hospital charges outrageous fees? Think being overcharged by 1,000 percent. Think $20M spent in 2015 lobbying Congress. “These high markups negatively affect almost everyone. They’re bad for privately insured patients who find themselves being treated at out-of-network hospitals. They’re bad for the uninsured, since people with no insurance have no one negotiating on their behalf with hospitals. And they’re bad for anyone who pays insurance premiums, since high hospital prices drive up the cost of health insurance.” No surprise.
- Big Education: People got seriously rich pushing Common Core.
- Big Abortion: Planned Parenthood spent $600K in 3 months, for a total of $1.6M in 2015, lobbying Congress. In 2016, the pro-abortion lobby has already spent $2.1M on 2016 federal elections. Ever wonder why this “scandal-plagued political lobbying giant” won’t lose federal funding?
- Big Immigration: Ever wonder why we can’t stop illegal immigration? Big Labor and special interests spend $$$ to keep it going. A staggering $1.5 billion since 2007
- Big Lawyers: Tort reform would significantly lower the cost of health care. Just look at other countries. The lawyer industry giving $234 million to political campaigns in 2008 and $36 million for political campaigns in 2016, means we won’t ever get it. When in doubt, follow the money.
One thing for sure, if Bernie wants to change corruption in politics, Hillary is the personification of corruption in politics. Clinton Cash shows us the worst: how foreign governments and entities made her rich in exchange for special favors. While Hillary has fund-raising dinners at $350K/couple, Trump has largely self-funded his campaign. Trump has said he would not be “beholden to lobbyists, donors and special interests” like all his opponents who ran for President, were.
Bernie wants campaign finance reform. Only Trump acts on it. “They’re politicians,” Trump said. “Remember this: A politician is all talk, no action. They’re not going to get us to the Promised Land and I’ve been saying this … They’re controlled by lobbyists, they’re controlled by their donors, they’re controlled by special interests. … If you’re looking at making our country great again, they’re not going to do it.”