U. S. 2017 Human Rights Report：(3) Cash Democracy
May 14,2018 By:CCTV
|The United States has always labeled itself as a model of democratic politics. However, the 2016 US presidential election fraught with chaos has seriously undermined this image.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics, an independent US institution, 6.6 billion US dollars were spent for the 2016 US general election, 87 million US dollars more than in 2012. Corporate consortia and non-governmental organizations influence the course of every election in the US through political donations; with the elected politicians rewarding these donor institutions by promulgating favorable legislations and industrial standards.
Though the Federal Election Commission has set the limit of an individual’s donation to a candidate at 2,700 US dollars, super PACs (Political Action Committees) can easily circumvent this limit by indirectly donating unlimited amounts of funds to candidates.
US scholar Lawrence Lessig pointed out in Republic, Lost: “The US political system is mired in a serious crisis: US democratic politics is manipulated by groups and their donors.”
US electoral democracy is firmly controlled by money and democratic politics is manipulated by interest groups completely. Former Republican presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush took control of Iraq, ranking fifth in the world in terms of oil reserves, by waging two Iraq wars. Democrat President Bill Clinton received more financial support from the IT industry and actively promoted the information highway project after taking office. The reason why Barack Obama did not thoroughly rectify the problems in the financial industry after the 2008 international financial crisis was that large financial groups made generous donations to his campaign.
Such manipulation of US electoral democracy by campaign donors made former US President Jimmy Carter sigh with emotion: “Could George Washington and Thomas Jefferson become US presidents if they were alive?”