NOTE: This article first appeared in the January 9, 2006, edition of SoapboxWeekly.com.
and Deep Pockets Are What's Important
In the midst of the New York State Republican Party's
search for a candidate to field in the 2006 race for governor, statements that were reportedly made by State Senate Majority
Leader Joseph Bruno (Brunswick) alluded to the desire for a candidate with name recognition and a lot of money. The name
that has been connected to Bruno's statements is none other than Donald Trump. Unfortunately, this is what running for
elective office in New York State has come to in 2006. It is no longer about what a prospective candidate's positions
are with regard to the issues.
I understand that we live in a state and a nation of private financing of elections.
This state of affairs exists for a few reasons. One is that too many people are afraid, or are told that they should be afraid,
of being forced to support with their tax dollars candidates that they do not agree with. However, what these people fail
to understand is that they are presently doing precisely that, except that they are doing it in a backhanded way. All taxpayers
in New York State are being forced to support candidates and public officials that they do not agree with by means of private
campaign contributions that are parlayed into corporate welfare and special-interest welfare that come at the expense of the
taxpayers. Another reason for the reluctance to go to a system of public financing of elections is that it would make them
fair. Public financing of elections would allow each candidate to have an equal financial chance of getting his message out
to the public so that voters could truly have informed choices in elections. But such a scenario is too democratic for career
politicians who use the present system to keep themselves entrenched in office, and, unfortunately, the power to change the
system lies with these career politicians who are entrenched in office.
It is no wonder that energetic young
people who are civic-minded and who have good ideas are reluctant to enter politics. They realize that it is not good ideas
that win; instead, it is a lot of money that wins.
There is an old saying that holds that money is the root of
all evil. I do not believe that. However, I do believe that it is the root of most corruption. And there are few places
in which corruption shows its head in an uglier way than in the private financing of elections.