Several Occupy Wall Street splinter groups are now coalescing around a set of political demands. One that is long overdue and enjoys unanimous support is campaign finance reform. All the formulas that I have seen center on publicly funded elections. While this would be a huge step in the right direction, I would like to propose a very simple and more radical idea which would truly be a campaign finance revolution.
American elections in their current form constitute nothing less than an auction, where billionaire banksters use a variety of corporate and PAC fronts to appoint the person they believe will be most subservient to their agenda.
In nearly every election at every level the candidate who raises the most money wins. Period. Why bother allowing people to even vote? Simply crown the candidate who raises the most money victor and drop the pretense that democracy exists in America. The voting process simply legitimizes the fraud.
The reason money wins elections is simple. It boils down to television ads. One thing all Americans excel at is watching TV. The candidate who has the most money can run the most TV ads and destroy his/her opponent. A 30-second TV ad on one of the major networks runs around $50,000.
When I ran for Congress in 2004 I couldn’t afford even one such ad. Since I refused to accept corporate money I raised only $17,000. My opponent – perennial incumbent Rep. Jo Ann Emerson (R-MO) – raised her usual $1 million from the likes of Bank of America, WalMart, Annheuser Busch, etc.
I did some radio and newspaper ads and personally handed out over 100,000 campaign brochures. We hit every parade and festival. We went door-to-door to every small business in 28 counties and did the same at people’s homes in many cities. We clearly outworked our opponent. But it didn’t matter. She had the corporate cash and was appointed by the banksters to serve them for another term.
One thing a person dwells upon incessantly when they find themselves in a rigged game is how to fix it. So while campaign finance reform was one of my issues right out of the gate, my views on how to achieve this evolved as I began to learn how political campaigns actually work.
Publicly funded elections would surely be a great step towards leveling the playing field, especially after the Supreme Court passed Citizens United, opening the spigots to record amounts of bankster-front cash. But if we fund elections through a public surtax, yet continue to allow such enormous amounts of money to be spent, we ignore another culprit in perpetuating the current fraud – the corporate media.
Like every other industry in America, the media has seen an unprecedented concentration of economic power in the hands of a few companies. Following a slew of mergers over the past few decades, the entire media is now tightly controlled by the banksters.
Running a TV or radio station is extremely profitable. Overhead consists of a tower, a small building and a handful of employees. Ad revenue is highly lucrative to say the least.
Each TV or radio station must first obtain a license to operate from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This license does not cost very much, so essentially US taxpayers are subsidizing these media conglomerates.
In return for such public generosity, the least we can ask of these media titans is that come election time they allocate a certain number of advertising slots to each candidate for FREE. They could also be made to air a certain number of debates.
If we did this one simple thing, money would no longer be necessary to run a solid political campaign and the best candidate should win. We could cap fundraising at $50,000 per candidate ($250,000 for the Presidential election). That would be more than enough to cover travel expenses, yard signs, brochures and some newspaper ads.
This method should also be more agreeable to fiscal conservatives, since NO public money need be expended on elections.
It is the difference between reform and revolution. Do we ask the public to finance elections or should we mandate that the bankster media foot the bill as part of their FCC licensing agreement? I believe nothing short of revolution will suffice in restoring democracy to America.
Dean Henderson is the author of Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network, The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries and Das Kartell der Federal Reserve.