Americans like to think our government represents all of us, but sometimes in American politics, you get what you pay for. Thanks to the presence of big money in politics, many legislators care more about the wealthy people, businesses and groups who fund their campaigns than the rest of their constituents.
A new, Republican-led effort to ban online gambling illustrates how big money sways politicians. This proposal, sponsored by Sens. Tom Cotton (R-Ark), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Mike Lee (R-Utah), is a pet project of billionaire Nevada casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, one of the GOP’s most generous donors.
Last month, Adelson made a $20 million donation to the Senate Leadership Fund, a super PAC linked to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that has spent nearly $14 million this year to support Senate Republicans. A few weeks later, Cotton introduced the bill.
Adelson has been vocally against online gambling for years; he recognizes it’s a direct threat to , his casinos. So in exchange for a few million dollars, he enlists senators to fight for his interests, and reminds the rest of us of the imbalance of power in our democracy.
Our government is supposed to hear and value every voice equally. Instead, people who don’t have millions of dollars to contribute to campaigns are being drowned out by the wealthy elite. Luckily, there is a lot that we can do to fix this.
This election cycle, 12 good government groups have joined forces for a campaign called “Who Will Fight Big Money?” They’ve set out specific goals for a more inclusive democracy, and are asking congressional candidates to take a stand.
At whowillfightbigmoney.org, you can see the stances of more than 200 candidates who have responded to our survey. If your candidates haven’t responded, reach out with letters, phone calls, and tweets. Tell them that democracy reform matters, and ask them to make a commitment to support it.
Americans today face a lot of problems, from the environment to immigration to civil rights. Each issue matters, but we can’t count on politicians to address the things we care about while they still count on wealthy special interests to win re-election.
Big money has taken control of our government; it’s on us to take it back by being engaged and vocal. We must hold candidates accountable, and demand that they take a stance on democracy reform. We need to make our case for a fairer government on Election Day, by voting for candidates who are willing to fight the system instead of profiting from it.
Issues: Money in Politics
Tags: Fighting Big Money