In the United States we like to talk about sports and politics. The Presidential election is like the Super Bowl of elections. Regretfully elections cost money, and candidates spend an inordinate amount of time raising money. Elections require money in order to get the word out to voters on where the candidate stands on the issues, and sadly most campaigns have negative ads, denigrating the opposition candidate.
Since Citizens United the playing field has changed regarding how the game is played and who can give money to candidates. For a lot of Progressive voters they would like to ignore the reality of who are the players in this new political reality and bemoan the fact if any candidate takes corporate money.
Democrats and especially Progressive Democrats like to play nice. They don’t like to talk ill of other candidates. As far as money is concerned they only like their candidate to take money from individuals who make relatively small contributions. Their reality ignores what we have to deal with since the Citizens United decision.
Yes, it would be nice if the world were different and we can change things but the first thing to do is win and then change the rules of the game. You can not win elections with one arm pinned behind your back. While Republicans are willing and do take money from Corporate donors and they are quite willing to take huge contributions from PACS and big donors.
So why should Democrats refuse to take corporate donations? Yes, no one wants any undue influence or our candidates to be beholden to a lobbyist. The character of a candidate is always an issue. Just because you have taken money from someone who wants to have your ear does not mean you have sold out to that donor! The only thing that matters now is winning and raising more money than our opponents.
The hard core fact is that over 90% of candidates who raise more money win! Some of you may argue that Bernie raised a lot of money. Yes, he did and good for him, but he still lost. Barack Obama won with a massive amount of small donors during the primaries but he still changed how he raised money for the general election. If you raise more money you will have a good chance of victory.
Congressional and Senate candidates have to raise money and a lot of money to have a legitimate chance of winning. In politics like sports only the winner is remembered. You do not have the inspirational candidate who can engender a movement. The last thing that we need is to demand purity in our candidates and demand that they not take money from anyone other than individuals. This type of strategy might be noble but hopeless. Like in the days of old, we do not need Pyrrhic victories, where as a result of ones insistence on doing the noble thing we have only ashes left as a result of our purity.
No one wants the corrupting influence of big money in politics. The Citizens United case gave person hood to corporations and overturned nearly a 100 years of precedent. We must overturn the decision first and then adopt real campaign finance reform.