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❝Former American president Jimmy Carter has warned that US politics has been corrupted by billions of dollars of campaign financing following a supreme court ruling that he said legalised “bribery”.
He described the landmark 2010 Citizens United court decision, which equated campaign spending with free speech, as an “erroneous ruling”.
❝Speaking after the Iowa caucuses, in which Republican candidates spent $43m on TV advertising and Democratic candidates spent $16.8m, Carter said the domination of money in politics represented the biggest change since he was elected president in 1976.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “I didn’t have any money. Now there is a massive infusion of hundreds of millions of dollars into campaigns for all the candidates. Some candidates like Trump can put in his own money but others have to be able to raise a $100m to $200m just to get the Republican or Democratic nomination. That’s the biggest change in America…”
Carter said: “The erroneous ruling of the supreme court, where millionaires, billionaires, can put in unlimited amounts of money, give legal bribery the chance to prevail, because all the candidates, whether they are honest or not, or whether they are Democratic or Republican, depend on these massive infusions of money from very rich people in order to have money to campaign…”
“As the rich people finance the campaigns, when candidates get in office they do what the rich people want. And that’s to let the rich people get richer and richer and the middle class get left out. All the statistics show that the middle class are stagnant or going down in their income for the work that they do.”
❝He added: “When I ran against Gerald Ford, or later Ronald Reagan, we didn’t raise a single penny to finance our campaign against each other … nowadays you have to have hundreds of millions of dollars to prevail.”
There is so much about American elections that is corrupt – and corrupting – it’s difficult choosing where to start. The primary process ties you to the 2-party choice. Limits you to choosing from a pool of candidates who believe either of the two parties best represents the future of this nation.
The buying and selling of campaigns at the primary and national electoral level is already well documented. Along with gerrymandering just another election trick – for both parties.
Conservative packing of federal courts combined with states rights folderol allows for the wave of laws and regulations moving backwards the individual right to vote by decades. All the way up to the Supreme Court – so far.
Pick and choose where you want to start, folks. I’m supporting activists here in New Mexico fighting for open primaries. These can easily be regulated down to one person, one vote, at primary time. Our courts are passing the buck to the state legislature – which is about as chickenshit as any other in the nation. So, expect nothing but nothing.
Poisonally, I’d like more of a Euro-style opportunity, an open primary with any number of candidates from all avenues – followed by a runoff if no one exceeds 50% in the popular vote. The California model comes closest.
Limited campaign time, limited campaign expenses.