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Gaming the Public: The Parties' Dirty Secret About Corruption in Politics

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Author: Steve Hunyar
Created: 09 June, 2015
Updated: 15 October, 2022
3 min read

Republican and Democratic politicians alike hold one dirty strategy close to the vest when it comes to the majority of the funds they receive throughout their political campaigns and their terms in office.

Many Republicans are fond of pointing fingers at political corruption in the Democratic ranks when public and private unions contribute lobbying dollars in overwhelming numbers to Democrats. We hear the usual litany of comments trying to convince Americans that Democratic politicians are in the pockets of the unions and their leaders.

Many Democrats are equally fond of pointing fingers at political corruption in the GOP ranks which stems from corporate lobbying dollars. We get their incessant comments trying to convince Americans that Republican politicians are in the pockets of the corporations and their boards.

Lots of postured finger points -- even more money changing hands.

And many partisan Americans on both sides, left and right, lap it up and play right into the strategy. Incessant claims of corruption. Ad nauseam assertions of influence peddling. Right versus left. Democrats hating Republicans and vice versa. Chest puffery; fist slamming bravado.

Erstwhile, the politicians laugh all the way to the bank as their 'divide and conquer' strategy works to near perfection and it's continued business as usual. For continued favors to their lobbying benefactors, the money pours voluminously into their campaign coffers.

In occasional grand schemes of contrition, policymakers pass laws to make it seem like they are equally angered by the financial manipulation -- claiming that most of their colleagues are accepting these legal bribes, but never them. And these laws, such as the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 (McCain-Feingold), are eventually found to be unconstitutional and are overturned. Back to business as usual. Ah, but they look good trying to make it seem like they are fighting the corruption.

For all of the grandstanding and posturing, there is one simple truth. It is the politicians that are creating the demand for the supply.

We can blame anything and everything. However, without the politicians standing there with their palms extended outward and upward, there would be no lobbying, no lobbying dollars, and no influence peddling. Unions and corporations would not allocate lobbying dollars, if not for the greed and corruption of the politicians themselves.

Lobbyists and the entire lobbying industry would be sunsetted if politicians simply agreed to not fund their campaigns with monies other than directly from the public. The problem is no politician, nor candidate with political aspirations, wants to risk losing for a lack of funding, so it's business-as-usual.

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At a time when America has become inestimably divided, this is a rallying cry most would support.

We need a new breed of independent candidates who are willing to lead the charge and disregard any group that is eager to finance their run for office; candidates and politicians who do not rely on any special interest group other than the individual constituents they serve.

In today's technological era, candidates use social media to easily reach out beyond the confines of their voting precincts and collect from anyone in the U.S. that wishes to contribute. They could also easily limit the amounts they receive from individuals - regardless of laws - putting purity back into their campaigns.

If they owe no one, they can vote their conscience and truly represent their voters. Politics would be radically overhauled on every level.

Alas, this will never happen as long as We the People do not demand it. As long as We the People do not recognize this divide and conquer strategy, we will never collectively see through the fog of division and derision, and demand real change.

If you take anything from my thesis, please understand the current quid pro quo politics would not exist if not for the contemptible corruption and greed of the politicians themselves. Blaming the unions and the corporations for attempting to influence politicians is a waste of time and a fabricated distraction.

We are being played.

Photo Credit: Kritchanut / shutterstock.com

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