A poison pill in the ‘For the People Act’

Published: 4/18/2021 7:00:04 PM It seems everyone is on board with the “For the People Act.” It is claimed it will restore democrac...



Published: 4/18/2021 7:00:04 PM

It seems everyone is on board with the “For the People Act.” It is claimed it will restore democracy to the U.S.

There are indeed good sounding initiatives in this bill. Here’s the problem. The campaign finance section is a poison pill that further entrenches big money interests at the expense of independently financed campaigns.

Why should you care? You should care because your choice of candidates is already limited by big money’s influence in the electoral process. S1/HR1 raises the amount a candidate must raise to qualify for federal matching funds by five times the current amount needed.

At the same time, candidates who do qualify for those matching funds will no longer be limited in the amount of corporate contributions they can collect on top of those federal funds. So if this bill is indeed “for the people,” why is this poison pill in there?

It’s simple really. It’s all about control of the system. A successful independently funded candidate would cut into the influence of those corporate interests who buy our elections. Clearly, they will do whatever they can to prevent that scenario.

In 2014, researchers Gilens and Page released the results of their study on how much influence ordinary Americans have in Washington. The result not surprisingly was little to none. It was big money who got their way almost all the time. Which brings to mind the Supreme Court decision that corporations are people and money is speech.

So who are the people in the “For the People Act” really? Are they you and me or corporate people? As long as our elections are controlled by big money and independently funded candidates are forced to play that game or get crushed, how can we expect things to fundamentally change toward greater democracy?

Sure, this bill will add some provisions that make the process less uneven in some ways, but the fat cats will still be choosing which candidates you get to vote for and which ones you don’t. That’s why you should care about stripping the campaign finance section out of this bill. Tell your senators that is what you expect then to do.

Lois Gagnon

Belchertown



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Newsrust - US Top News: A poison pill in the ‘For the People Act’
A poison pill in the ‘For the People Act’
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