I thought I knew what Hillary Clinton stood for. But after her debate with Bernie Sanders, I'm not so sure.
I could hardly believe my own ears when Hillary suddenly launched into a full-throated defense of political contributions by wealthy corporations.
Hillary forcefully proclaimed that she "absolutely rejects" the idea that "anybody who ever took donations or speaking fees from any interest group has to be bought."
In other words, she believes that political contributions are perfectly fine.
No. This is not okay. In fact, political contributions are exactly the problem. This is the very mechanism that is undermining our society and blocking the passage of meaningful reforms that would benefit all of us as a whole.
The system itself is a viscous circle. Politicians are forced to raise huge sums of money in order to win elections. Once in office, these politicians must serve their wealthy corporate masters. If they failed to obey, then these politicians would be cut-off from future funding that they desperately need for reelection, and thus they would be swiftly voted out of office.
This entire system of political contributions is a modern-day form of legalized corruption, and it is causing the decay of our society. This corruption is directly responsible for the enormous problem of income inequality because wealthy interests are able to block reforms designed to benefit the middle and lower classes, which form the core of the Democratic Party.
So Hillary just flatly has it wrong on the central issue of our time.
In continuing her defense of political contributions, Hillary defiantly asserted that "you will not find that I ever changed a view or a vote because of any donation that I ever received."
This is the defense of "trust me," and "catch me if you can." Politicians have been hiding behind this forever. "Sure, I took all of this money, but no need to worry because of course I would never be influenced by money in any way whatsoever."
Then why are all of these wealthy corporations contributing so much money to politicians? Are they just wasting it? Just throwing it away for no reason?
And why do these corporations end-up with great advantages in government? Just by coincidence? Total happenstance? Magic?
It's just not credible. C'mon. We all know what is happening. Corporations contribute large sums to politicians because corporations receive direct benefits in return.
For Hillary to stand-up and defend this practice is shocking. And unacceptable.
Of course, Hillary has a bit of a problem on her hands because, in fact, she did accept huge amounts of contributions over the years. But Hillary must find a better way of addressing this issue.
The truth is that Hillary did nothing wrong. She merely participated in the very same system as just about every other politician, even though this system is deeply flawed. If we were to disqualify every candidate who ever took a political donation, we would be left with hardly any candidates. Indeed, this is a tricky message to communicate, but voters can handle it.
If Hillary continues to defend the very corrupt practice that is causing such deep problems within our society, then the choice is clear.