When Abraham Lincoln stated that the “government of the people by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth,” he failed to state who exactly would be served. The nature of the democratic process is such that the government is supposed to pass policy based on the will of the people. However, this may not be the case.

 

A recent study from Princeton University revealed that an overwhelming majority of Americans feel their voices are unheard by elected officials. Researchers compared surveys asking about specific issues the government should address with actual legislation passed by congress. Upon comparison, they discovered that roughly 90 percent of Americans have “near-zero” influence on public policy.

 

Illustration showing button reading Campaign Finance in a background of drawn dollar bills

Sometimes citizens feel that the government pays more attention to financing their company instead of fixing local/city-wide issues. (wstp.com)

With that said, the researchers came to another conclusion that there was one demographic who feel their voices are heard: the wealthy. The Represent campaign cites that candidates who have money win their elections about 91 percent of the time.  The campaign also states that elected officials spend roughly half of their time in office courting donors.

 

 

Wealthy Americans have their influence over politics almost down to a science. Lobbyists from a multitude of industries like defense, agriculture, etc., offer generous donations to political campaigns in exchange for legislation that benefits their own interests. Neither political party is exempt from the lure of big money.

 

However, since money has become integral to winning campaigns, the issue is not discussed as frequently as some would prefer. Issues such as campaign finance may not seem as exciting as gay marriage or the conflict with ISIS, but something must be done about it, in order to return the power back to the people.

 

Do you think campaign finance is serious issue? How should we go about fixing the problem of money in politics? Comment below or tweet @connerws to tell us what you think!