The problem is this. The two-party system in The United States is becoming a one-party system. The two parties, The Republican and Democrats, are both working for the same people. Political contests are extremely expensive and getting elected takes millions of dollars. This is one reason why we are seeing wealthy people in Congress. It takes even more to get a Senate seat. There are only 100 Senators, two from every state. It takes tens of millions for those seats. Where do you suppose that money is coming from? Do you believe that it is coming from the five or ten, or fifty dollars that some people donate to their favorite candidate? Do you think it comes from the $2,000.00 donations that is the maximum that any one person is allowed to donate? Do your friends donate to their candidates? Do you? If you donate, do you donate to your Representative's race, your Senatorial Race, the Presidential race? Who is donating millions of dollars to buy those ads, to buy touring buses, to rent arena's, to buy all of those TV spots? Do you think all the politicians are getting this money from the Republican and Democratic Committee's?
The truth is, they do get some of that money from people that contribute and also from the Democrat and Republican coffers. But, my friends, they can't fund an entire campaign with that money alone. No, it's just not enough. If that were the case, the Republican Party would have won more elections than it has, and the Democrats would be looking for a new party. There are more wealthy Republicans than wealthy Democrats.
So where does this additional needed money, to fund these expensive campaigns come from? All one has to do to find out, is to get on the Internet, and type Opensecrets.org into their web browser. It will tell you what corporations, or unions, or special interest groups, sometimes known as Political Action Committees (PACs) donated, and how much, to whom. You will be amazed at how much these different entities have donated to "your" representatives in the House and Senate. Go to this site, and look at the figures. See why I say that the House and the Senate are not filled with "your" representatives. They are owned, except in a few instances, by corporate, and special interest groups. Now, doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy? If you don't really know how to navigate around the web, or you are just too lazy to find out who is buying your congressmen and senators, let me just give you some examples, and save you the trouble.
Top 10 donors:
American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees $37,316,852
AT&T Inc $36,207,049
National Assn. of Realtors $28,475,423
Assn. of Trial Lawyers of America $26,277,006
National Education Assn. $25,991,491
Intl Brotherhood of Electrical Workers $24,626,156
Service Employees International Union $23,756,610
Laborers Union $23,623,707
Communications Workers of America $23,446,869
Teamsters Union $23,435,683*
View Full List
*Based on data released by the FEC on Monday, July 10, 2006 and the Web Site Open Secrets
Notice that the first biggest donor is a Union. The second is AT&T.We have Realtors (they have a lot of ads on TV, trying to put their organization in a good light), and Trial Lawyers. Then we have Unions. Would it surprise you to know that most of the Unions gave to the Democrats? Well, they did. Would it surprise you to know that in 2005-2006 that AT&T and the Realtors gave almost an equal amount to both the Democrats and the Republicans? Now, why would they do that? Would it surprise you to know that the American Medical Association was the 12th ranked donor? Can you guess what party they gave to? Let me give you a hint. Who defeated National Health Care, and saved the Doctor's from losing out on all those big bucks? You guessed it, The Republicans! By the way, Blue Cross and Blue Shield were right there with the AMA and the Republicans, as was RJ Reynolds. So were all of the Pharmaceutical manufacturers and all of the oil companies. Surprised? Well, of course not. Go see it for yourself. Believe it or not, we still have Enron in the top 100 of 2005-2006, giving to the Republicans.
So what about those PAC's I was talking about? How much did they shell out? How about almost $7,140,000 (million) dollars that they admit too. That is only the defense contractor PAC's. 63% going to the Republicans. Who says the Republicans will be soft on Defense? Not when they are making that kind of money! Get my point? Do you want me to go on? OK.
How about Energy and Natural Resources? Who are the oil companies paying off? You guessed it. The Republicans! How much? Only $4,164,922.00. 82% to Republicans. How about the Doctor's and Dentists, and other health professionals? $11,494,366.00 (million). To who? 68% Republican. How about Pharmaceuticals? $7,267,286.00 (million). 71% Republican. Want more? How about Tobacco? $1,690,750.00 (million). 78% Republican. What about the Forestry PAC's? $1,099,131.00 (million) 76% Republican.
Do you get the message I'm sending? Is this registering at all? Still think that these people are working in our best interests? Want me to sum this up? OK.
The people demanded reforms and made the Congress pass them. They provided the people running for President matching taxpayer funds. In the last presidential election, all of the candidates refused the funds. This allowed for no "cap" on their spending. Both candidates would have received $76,000,000 (million), but that wasn't enough! Get my point? Still think they aren't bought? Did you think that the little box they offer to let you check on your tax return would fix the problem? Not when the Republicans spent $367,228,801.00 (million) dollars and the Democrats $326,236,288.00 (million) dollars. You would think that after all the money that was spent,we would at least get someone a little smarter.
So how much money is spent? Who knows? Hillary Clinton raised $49,915,801.00 (million) for her Senate seat. She spent $23,196,563.00. She had $22,100,937.00 left. Maybe she will use that for her 2008 Presidential bid if the law allows her. The second biggest spender was Rick Santorum from Pa. Who raised about $21 mil and spent almost $12 Mil of that. Do you still think your $50 donation means much to them?
The long and short of all this information that I'm throwing at you, is all of these people were given huge sums of money by corporations, Unions, and special interest groups. The people actually matter very little, except at the polls. We still matter there. That is why these interests that contribute, spend so much money. They want you to vote for the politician that will be the best fit for whatever cause, or industry or issue they want addressed. If the people demand Campaign Reform, and demand that ALL seats for national office be publicly funded, then this legal bribery will cease to exist.
The only way to give elections back to the people is to elect those that support campaign reform. To do this, you must ask them. Write them, e-mail them, whatever, but ask. I will bet that they will not answer you. The other choice is to start a third political party. Even if this political party exists solely for campaign reform. Talk to your friends and family and co-workers. This is our country. It doesn't say "We the Corporations and Special Interest Groups. It says WE THE PEOPLE. That means you, and me. You're welcome.