We are not a democracy, yet we do have a voice in our own government. Elections are the choice microphones for many citizens. There on Election Day, they have the right of making their voices heard; however, many interest groups and a few individuals seem to have a louder voice due to campaign financing:
No U.S. official should be beholden to one or a few groups. And no group or individual should have a greater claim on our elected leaders than any other. That’s the way it should work. But it is growing clear to more and more Americans that it doesn’t (McCarthy 24).
Recently, it has been the trend to try to make sure the opinions and concerns of minorities are duly noted and pondered on. The only problem seen with this comes about whenever the minority “buy” the attention of politicians. Typically, minorities are more than a number. The grossly rich, while small in number and percent, have never counted as a minority, but these are the only ones who can afford to give enough support to a candidate to draw attention to them. Again, we see an aristocratic government. Even interest groups of true minorities can’t give enough to impress anyone.
Now that we have seen the dangers of campaign financing, we should go back and find out how it started. Max McCarthy speaks of a time when everything got worse in politics. This was not to imply that everything had been perfect before, but once the media gets involved, things tend to go differently. Many years ago, the media began to play a vital role in the political education of our citizens, with radios and televisions. Before, only those with real authority had any complete knowledge of what went on with governmental politics. As each candidate was brought closer and closer to the American people, they actually started to care about things that before were nicely kept secrets. The opinions of these, now seemingly real people, instead of future historical figures, were actually heard, and the people actually knew who they were voting for. With the start of this new technology, campaigning was much easier; all that was needed was enough money to get the name recognition:
As campaign costs have skyrocketed in recent years, the percentages contributed by the parties and small individual donors have declined . . . An ever-growing...
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Emenhiser, JeDon. 1999. http://www.sorrel.humboldt.edu/~jae1/paper.html
Ginsberg, Benjamin, Theodore J. Lowi, and Margaret Weit. 1997. We The People: An Introduction to American Politics. W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.
Goidel, Robert K., Donald A. Gross, and Todd G. Sheilds. 1967. Money Matters: Consequenses of Campaign Financing Reform in the U.S. House Elections. Rowman & Little field Publishers, Inc. Lanham, New York.
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