Our government is no longer by the people, for the people.
Instead, our government has become a vehicle for corporations and the wealthiest 0.000042 percent of Americans. These select few can afford to give huge sums of money to political campaigns and receive undue influence for it. A recent study by Princeton political scientists showed that the United States is no longer a democracy but an oligarchy -- ruled by the wealthy few. Their vast spending in politics gives them a large degree of control over those in office, drowning out the voices of everyday Americans. This amounts to institutionalized bribery.
The trend has been escalating for some time now, pushed forward by the disastrous Citizens United and Buckley Supreme Court decisions. These decisions run counter to every American's belief -- corporations are not people and should not be treated as such. Huge, multinational corporations can effectively make unlimited donations to campaigns through SuperPACs, which do not have to report the source of their funds.
The result of these decisions is that money has become the criteria for who makes it as an elected official. Politicians are rewarded not for their ability to govern, but their ability to fundraise. Instead of listening to the people, they pander to multinational corporations. This creates an environment where policy is not shaped by the needs of the people, but by the corporations who fund our representatives.
My own Congressman, Representative Dave Reichert, has received over $457,000 this cycle alone from PACSs such as Comcast, AT&T and others. No wonder he ignores the voices and the interests of the people in my home district-he has big business to back him up. No wonder he hasn't passed a single bill during his time in Congress -- he's been too busy fundraising.
This is not the government laid out by the founding fathers. They argued for free speech as a way to empower the people, not subjugate them to the will of businesses and the super wealthy. We need to return to their vision of democracy, one where the voice of people determined the government's actions. This means serious changes in the way elections are financed. We need not just structural, but institutional change.
I want my sons to grow up in a country where elections are decided based on issues, not checkbooks. I want them to see a Congress that responds to the concerns of their constituents, not some unnamed corporations. This is why I'm running for Congress, to make sure that my district is represented by someone who cares about the actual people living there, not the corporations. I am committed to serious campaign finance reform -- we must return Congress to its roots, "We the People".