Our country is beginning to tool up for mid-term elections, and many entities, citizens included, are laying plans for future endeavors based upon victorious outcomes in these elections. The most imperative tool candidates and their supporters assemble during elections is money. Earlier this summer, another citizen wrote to the Reporter regarding her concern about the last race in the 8th Congressional District; only 7.08 percent of Congressman Dave Reichert’s campaign funds came from within the district. Shouldn’t the outcome of this race be primarily determined by the citizens who live in the 8th Congressional District?
In recent years, due to Supreme Court decisions, an unprecedented amount of money has flooded elections. Much of this money is funneled into campaign coffers from super political action committees, which are not required to disclose the identity of donors. The wealthiest 1 percent essentially have free rein to dominate elections, and equal opportunity in the political realm is slipping away. Special interest groups and average citizens want very different results from their elected officials. Ordinary citizens have less and less ability to determine the policies that govern their lives. Voters of all persuasions oppose big money in our elections. Many elected officials have come to resent the huge amount of time they must spend raising campaign funds. Before we can make significant progress on the pressing issues of our times, we must even out the playing field by reducing the influence of big money in our elections.
As Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis said over 60 years ago, “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”