MY proposition: American/Multinational Corporations have in essence purchased the Presidential electoral system.
I KNOW this is a perennial accusation by I got set on thinking about this when a South African collogue of mine proposed on night that in American, corporations control much more that we think. From the type of music we listen to, i.e. bands are more and more producing short catchy songs that have the potential to earn more in royalties by being picked up for a commercial, T.V. show or movie than through traditional record sales, to even how we express our emotions- DeBeers has taught us that a diamond is the purest cultural expression of undying love- they marketed an emotion. I listened with interest since this foreign observer first was not necessarily criticizing this fact and also because he offered a perspective that I lacked having grown up in America. Much in the same way a fish never wonders what it is to fell ‘dry’ since he has spent his whole life living in the ‘wet’ ocean. To state it plainly I don’t believe that this is necessarily wrong; it is the out growth of a capitalistic system that seeks profit wherever it can be found. While there obviously moral issues involved I am typically lassie faire in my judgments on American corporations since the wealth created by American business employs millions, creates billions of dollars in revenue and exports more monetary value in a year to ever conceivable location on earth. The system may not be perfect but it is the best model men have yet created for the creation and distribution of wealth.
THAT being said, when I heard that the campaigning for the ’08 presidency might top over $1,ooo, ooo, ooo I gasped! How could candidates raise that much money? The value of viability for ’08 is said to be at least $300 million dollars. In light of this I understand why candidates immediately threw off the financial limitations of a publicly financed campaign. When it was clear that that ’08 would be won on private money I also had to recognize that the campaign finance reforms of ’04 were dead, dead, dead. ‘08 like all elections most elections will be won by the campaign with the biggest war chest. In an atmosphere like that Mr. Smith would never have a chance in Washington because he could not afford the ticket to enter the game.
SO with public financing out the window and the oversight that that system would have brought, candidates now must scour the land for every penny they can gather. The problem I thought was that who was going to give $1 billion dollars to finance the presidential campaigns. I’m a pretty typical guy, I know quite a few people through my public and private life and I don’t know a single person who contributes to a campaign. How then is the viable candidate to earn $300 million? Corporate contributions clearly are the only feasible way to garner the cash needed for a modern day campaign. Clearly GM or 3M will not directly cut a check to a candidate but this money will find its way through various means and various ways into the coffers of those aspiring to the office of president. So my proposition again: American/ Multinational Corporations have in essence purchased the Presidential electoral system.
THIS then leads to the conclusion then that which ever leading candidates emerge from the field, you can be sure they are in leading position because they have had the financial resources to promote their agenda and candidacy. The implication being proposed then is that we as American voters are given only the choice to choose between two candidates, who have by virtue of the private funding scheme explained above, have been produced by corporate America as the only choices for us as voters to choose from. Therefore either leading candidate from a mainline political party, you can be sure is beholden to the interests that financed their election to our nations highest office.
NATURALLY it can be expected that those who paved the path to the White House with their buffalo nickels will expect a return on their investment. While government apparently struggles to secure our boarders, our government is also bound by NAFTA to open our points of entry to Mexican trucking. Why? The long term vested economic interest that companies who conduct business across international boarders have placed upon the elected officials whom they have financed into office, is beginning to bear the hoped for fruit. Open boarders means economic prosperity for these but has numerous negative effects for many others as well, national security interests being but one of the lesser issues.
IN conclusion then, it has been demonstrated that in order for ’08 candidates to summons the economic resources necessary to mount a bid for the White House they will have to be dependent upon direct or indirect corporate funding. In turn the investment made by these companies or individuals will demand a return. I simply ponder what the long term cost will be for this alignment between corporations and our political processes.