The vast sums of money that now flood the political scene have a devastating and corrupting influence on our democracy, both at the state and national levels. Corporations, organizations, and even individuals, with millions of dollars to spend, skew the policies of our government in their favor using carrot and stick tactics.
The carrot is of course money, and the approach is not even subtle. Elected officials are graded on an A to F basis, and then paid accordingly. (For example, in 2014 Congressman Kurt Schrader received an A- rating from the NRA.) The amount of campaign money that they receive depends in part on this rating.
Politicians that decline to be enticed by carrots can be beaten with a stick. Money is funneled into campaigns to either smear them or to have them recalled. (For example, the Timber Unity campaign to recall Tiffany Mitchell receives much of its funding from the timber industry, including Stimson.) It does not require more than a couple of well-funded recall campaigns to persuade elected officials across the board that carrots are preferable to sticks.
We only have one vote each which is peanuts compared to the millions of dollars available to special interest groups. But together our votes are stronger than money. There are two things that we can do. One is to only vote for candidates who do not accept carrots – or to be realistic, vote for the one that receives the lesser amount.
The other is not to be duped into supporting well-funded recall campaigns initiated by special interest groups with limitless resources. In time, we might be able to succeed in making our elected officials responsible to us and not to the moneyed special interest groups.