I once thought BlueMassGroup was a great place to be exposed to critical thoughts regarding our flawed political system. But in writing about one of the major driving forces in corrupting our politics (and warping meaningful policy solutions to address climate change, health care and other progressive issues), I was surprised to find muted or actual support for the status quo.
But I’ll try again, not so much as thinking it will change anything (I am not insane) but as an outlet to vent some steam about our corrupt (but completely legal) political system and (through their silence) the acquiescence of fellow progressives. I’m referring to the myth that pretends any American can run for political office and be a public servant. But as we all know, that is BS and the obvious example looking at us in the face is the upcoming Democratic US Senate primary election this September.
Putting aside the many complaints from many BMG readers that we should not even have a primary because…because…because why again? (Oh ya, we already have someone in that position, so we shouldn’t have a primary.)
I’d just like to focus on a simple principle our political system should adhere to and that is every candidate starts at the same starting line and has the same advantages (and challenges) as other candidates running for the same office. I don’t think that is a controversial idea and, while not written into the four corners of the law, this idea is clearly a bedrock value of our democratic republic. But we all know that is a fantasy and the system is rigged.
Why does the incumbent get to start the election with more than $4 million in the bank?
Why does one of the challengers–an entrenched political himself–get to start the race with about $4 million in the bank and then can have his father spend more than $2 million to support his son, from a campaign account that has been dormant for nearly 20 years…TWENTY F’ING YEARS AGO!! (Never mind that Marty Meehan could enter this race tomorrow, with a $4 million war chest he’s been sitting on…keeping his options open).
This kind of arms race would put any well-qualified, but not financially wealthy person, at a great disadvantage (understatement of the year). So that explains why one well-qualified challenger has the personal resources to “loan” her campaign $3 million so she can be competitive with her two challengers.
So the message is clear: Any middle-class person should never expect to represent the people in the US Senate (or Congress for that matter). The rules are written is such a way that–realistically–the rich, or those wanting to suck-up to rich people or special interests groups, can run for office.
Perhaps you feel that we want successful people running for Senate and that translates into being financially successful? Really? Well, you know who I’d like to see run for US Senate? It is someone I’ve admired from afar and know she has the brains, passion and accomplishments to effectively serve the people of Massachusetts. But her accomplishments are not the sexy media-driven show-horse “work” that candidates typically claim. It is accomplishments helping the most vulnerable in society–children. Children who are trapped and lost in our system of “justice”. Many BMGers know I’m referring to Amber Paw (who most of know by name, but I’ll keep her anonymous, as I would like to stay)
But we’ll never elect people like Amber Paw into a position of policy making, because the rules are to hard–damn near impossible–to get her elected. Instead we continue with our group insanity: maintaining a system were only established politicians and rich people can run for office. Continuing this system–looking blindly at all the PAC money raised in the past by Kennedy/Markey while we heap praise on any hollow “people’s pledge” that they are attempting to BS voters with–is guaranteed to maintain the status quo that continues to stymie progressive change in America.
We need across the board public financing of campaigns. That is the only way very accomplished people who work for middle-class pay (to defend children for example) can ever have a chance to represent their peers in politics. It’s time to stop this rigged system that only helps the rich and the well-connected.