Posted by: smstrouse | February 27, 2016

Oligarchy or Democracy?

f7WMVyzIn a recent interview, former president Jimmy Carter called our current system of campaign financing “legalized bribery.” This isn’t the first time he’s called this out. Last summer he said that the United States is now an oligarchy in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” He was responding in these interviews to recent Supreme Court decisions.

But this isn’t be first time Carter has criticized campaign financing. These recent interviews triggered a memory of an NPR interview back in 2004, in which he clearly listed the reasons why the US would not meet the Carter Center’s criteria for fair elections.

He said, “The American political system wouldn’t measure up to any sort of international standard for several reasons. One is that there has to be a provision . . . that all the qualified candidates have equal access to the public through the media, through television and radio, and they don’t have to pay for it. Whereas in this country, there’s no way that you can hope to be the nominee of the Democratic or Republican Party unless you have the proven ability to raise nowadays $100 million, contributions from special interest groups. We think that being considered as a candidate should not depend on how much money you can collect to pay for the right to give your campaign platform explanations to the public.”

That was 2004. Obviously (to put it mildly) things haven’t improved.

Carter has also said, “We have a responsibility to try to shape government so that it does exemplify the teaching of God.”

Through the work of the Carter Center, he’s doing his part. Unfortunately, they won’t be monitoring our election process. So it’s up to us.

How will we take our democracy back?

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