There are many Americans who are single issue voters.
Some people are focused on national defense. For others, it’s the economy. Some focus on abortion.
In the 2016 presidential election cycle, many liberals zeroed in on the role of money in politics.
Senator Bernie Sanders sought the presidency as a Socialist-Democrat. His platform was very focused on getting “big money” out of influencing the policies of the government. His platform stated in “Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restoring Democracy”:
“In the year 2016, with a political campaign finance system that is corrupt and increasingly controlled by billionaires and special interests, I fear very much that, in fact, government of the people, by the people, and for the people is beginning to perish in the United States of America.
We cannot allow that to happen.”
Sanders called on all Americans to rally around the message of weeding out the corruption that accompanies money in politics.
“Let’s be honest and acknowledge what we are talking about. We are talking about a rapid movement in this country toward a political system in which a handful of very wealthy people and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected. That is not what this country is supposed to be about. That was not Abraham Lincoln’s vision of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people….
The need for real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans, regardless of their political point of view, who wish to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world, a government that represents all of the people and not a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests.”
Sanders directed his attacks against Hillary Clinton, who raised significant money for personal profit, as well as for her presidential campaign, from Wall Street.
Another Democratic nominee for president focused on money in politics was Harvard professor Lawrence Lessig. Lessig ran his entire campaign on that single issue: to reduce corporate political contributions in government. In September 2015, in announcing his candidacy, Lessig could not be more clear about his thoughts about money in politics:
“America’s government has been bought. But not by us. Not by the American people. America’s government has been bought by the cronies and special interests. America’s government has been bought not by those who care about America, but by those who want to use our government to get rich.”
Lessig said that America had become a “banana republic democracy,” because of the role of money in elections.
And he noted that Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of that problem.
When Lessig dropped out of the presidential race, he was asked to reflect on which candidate could solve the corrupting issue of money in politics. He was unambiguous: Donald Trump.
“As much as it’s impossibly difficult for me to imagine a Donald Trump presidency…. I do kind of think that the highest probability of fundamental reform is if Donald Trump is president,”
Is it any wonder that so many Sanders supporters are not backing Clinton? As Lessig said:
“You could love everything that Bernie is saying, but unless you change the political system and end this core corruption, nothing that he’s talking about is even credible,”
In other words, if you want to stop government bribery, the core of the issue is to stop it at the governmental level. Trump played a part of system, not because he was so anxious to give away money to politicians, but because the politicians kept demanding it. For leading liberals, the critical issue is to stop the disease that is Hillary Clinton’s graft machine. And who would better do it than one of the people that was forced into paying in?
Hillary Clinton’s issue is not Republicans not liking her. It is Liberals and Democrats who see her as the essence of a corrupt political machine.
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