Money in the Political Machine: Does it Matter?



Madison Dibble

Bernie Sanders built his campaign upon his distaste for the wealthy and big business. His campaign’s plot to dismantle the country’s lasting principles of economic freedom begins with campaign finance reform.

Sanders and his supporters stand firm on the notion that big money corrupts politics. Hillary Clinton—who is desperately begging for the millennial vote—also stated that campaign finance reform is necessary to end the corruption of politics, despite receiving millions from large donors.

It is easy for Sanders and Clinton to say that big donations corrupt candidates, but companies do not donate to convert; they donate to a candidate who already agrees with them. At the end of the day, big donors give money to people who share their ideologies.

Both Sanders and Clinton have promised that they will nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn Citizens United—the court decision that protects super-PACs under Freedom of Speech. Apparently, they feel that institutions that hire huge percentages of the population should not have a say. However, when it comes to unions donating to their campaigns, they are all for it.

With that said, Bernie’s campaign has proven that super-PACs are super-worthless. Bernie Sanders runs neck-and-neck with Clinton in almost every primary, winning the popular vote in New Hampshire. The self-funded Donald Trump polls well ahead of the establishment candidates backed by super-PACs. Both of these candidates prove that a candidate can make it without super-PACs. Why are the Democrats so adamant about removing the rights of companies to donate to candidates?

Sanders claims it will pull money out of politics. During the 2008 election cycle, spending in all campaigns at all levels of government totaled at $8.6 billion. While that is a lot of money, Americans spent $7 billion on Halloween candy and costumes in 2015. Sanders loves to tell people what they should do with their money, but the notion that a huge portion of American money is going to corrupt politicians is inaccurate.

Clinton represents a slightly different group of people: incumbents. Although she is not the returning president, she represents the establishment democrats—the majority of whom are sitting legislators. The people who are going to implement the new reforms are the very people who will benefit from them. Incumbents need far less money to run their campaign. They already have name recognition and supporters. Finance reform will assure that a no-name candidate will not have a chance to take them down unless they, like Trump, can afford it themselves.

If the democrats really want to reduce corruption, perhaps they should look into term limits. Incumbents need money from the evil companies to fund reelection. Term limits would solve that problem. However, Sanders—with 16 years in the House followed by 2 terms as a senator—would probably disagree.

The issue of campaign finance reform is whether we should limit big businesses’ rights so the left’s big government won’t fall into temptation. Their argument that big government is superior falls flat if that government will fall victim to corruption under the slightest temptation, but pigs will fly before liberals will choose free speech over governmental power.