Democracy: It's Not Just for Billionaires Any More
Billionaire campaign donors have reached the point of diminishing returns. Inflation, you might say. From the linked article:
“Florida Senator Marco Rubio has one; Texas Senator Ted Cruz has one; even former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, considered a longshot for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has a billionaire in his corner. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has two.”
If every candidate has a billionaire or two, then how does a billionaire-financed candidate separate him/herself from the rest of the pack? Aside from the inflation/diminishing-returns factor, the public is gradually (it took long enough) starting to resent the hijacking of the electoral process by a few billionaires.
A director of the Brookings Institution said:
“There's growing public awareness about rich people trying to buy elections and that makes the task of winning all the more difficult.”
One recent example: Anthony Hardy Williams was heavily favored to become the next mayor of Philadelphia. He was backed by three billionaires — the founders of a global financial firm. Then came the backlash. A coalition of unions and community groups held demonstrations, and waved signs saying “Stop billionaires from buying our next mayor!”
After the election (Williams lost), one voter said: “I would have looked seriously at Williams if not for the money. You don't think that money should govern people who are elected, but what do you do, just let the billionaires take over?”
And this brings us to Crowdpac — think Kickstarter, GoFundMe — an online fundraising platform.
Mason Harrison, Crowdpac's political director, said:
“We have a lack of money from small donors in American politics, and if we have more people involved in the political process we can make great strides in terms of diluting the influence from special interests.”
Maybe the tide is starting to turn. One can hope.