Your vote doesn’t matter

Washington, D.C. (TFC) – With the 2016 elections around the corner, many people are simply too disenfranchised by the systematic corruption surrounding campaigns. Across the country people have a general consensus of “my vote doesn’t count.” Corporations and special interest groups have hijacked our democracy. There is hope because the movement seeking to eliminate money from the political arena has been gaining traction across the country.

Image Source: Justin King

Image Source: Justin King

Our elected officials are bought and sold like used cars during tax season. A recent survey put their approval rating at just 12%. Since Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission in 2010, upholding the rights of corporations to make political expenditures under the First Amendment reaffirmed that corporations could contribute unfettered it has become apparent that democracy is dead. Justice Stevens, author of the dissenting opinion on the ruling, said it “threatens to undermine the integrity of elected institutions across the Nation.” He wrote: “A democracy cannot function effectively when its constituent members believe laws are being bought and sold.” President Barack Obama stated that the decision “gives the special interests and their lobbyists even more power in Washington—while undermining the influence of average Americans who make small contributions to support their preferred candidates.” Obama later elaborated in his weekly radio address saying, “this ruling strikes at our democracy itself” and “I can’t think of anything more devastating to the public interest.”

 

This is the golden age for corporations in the United States. Big business is sitting pretty while Middle America struggles to keep its head above water. In the last 5 years, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent $5.8 billion
influencing our government
with lobbying and campaign contributions. Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — earning a return of 750 times their investment.

It goes beyond just corporations influencing our representatives for tax breaks, the strongest lobby in Washington is AIPAC. AIPAC is the pro Israel lobby that some would argue led us into the Iraq war. They push on every level to influence our policy in the Middle East when in most cases it is against our national interests and ideals for us to do so. Let’s not forget the AIPAC espionage scandal where Lawrence Franklin, a former Pentagon analyst plead guilty to espionage charges of passing US government secrets to AIPAC policy director Steven Rosen and AIPAC senior Iran analyst Keith Weissman. M. J. Rosenberg a former AIPAC insider said “You just gotta say, ‘Yes sir, I agree, absolutely, nothing better than Israel,’ because you don’t want them to get mad at you. You wanna keep the campaign contributions going.”

 

Our laws and bills are in essence written by banks, big business and special interest groups none of which have the American public in mind when pushing their agenda.

Unfortunately, we have reached a point where if you want to influence politics you have to pay to play. The good news is grassroots movements have taken hold across the states to take money out of politics. In 2011 Cenk Uyger host of The Young Turks announced the formation of a political action committee Wolf Pac.
Wolf Pac
as described on their flyer is “a cross partisan organization seeking to restore our representative democracy by removing the corrupting influence of money in politics through an article V convention.”

Groups like Wolf Pac utilize a local first strategy. These strategies focus on change first at the district and state level in hopes that once progress is made the federal government will take action on their own. Local first has been hugely effective on other social issues such as marijuana decriminalization and same sex marriage. With increased awareness and support these groups will eventually turn the tide against corruption and money in Washington. For now just remember when someone around you says their vote doesn’t count the least you could do is explain to them; your vote might count, but in the end both candidates in our archaic two party system have been bought by the same Corporation.