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A Modern Whig Approach to Money in Politics

There is little doubt as to the influence of money on political campaigns. To run a successful campaign the candidates need funding. Campaigns must buy airtime, yard signs, bumper stickers, and pay campaign staff. Nothing in the world is free, so campaign contributions are a necessary evil.

Money has always been and will always be involved in politics. There is no way to remove it but we can diminish the stranglehold it has on our government.

The current campaign system has damaged our Government. The campaign the next election begins after the last vote is counted in the current election. Because of this constant need for money our government suffers. More time is spent on fundraising than working on government solutions. The public is feed up with this cycle and is reflected in the record low approval ratings.

The problem is the system

The two party system drives the problem of money in politics. Major contributors and societal sectors give to both parties. If you look at the website, opensecrets.org, you will see the money is given to both parties. By giving to both parties, they hold influence regardless of which party wins.  

A majority of the contributions go to keep the status quo. In many donation sectors, more than 80% of the contributions go to the incumbent. This insulates incumbents from challenges from within their own party as well as the opposition. 

Based on those facts, our elected officials have no real desire to address system of campaign funding. No matter what a politician tell you, it is a bad idea for politicians to make laws to "fix the broken rules." It's crazy to think elected politicians would really change the system which keeps them in power. They would be more likely to write rules to strengthen the ability of incumbents to stay in office.  Need proof? All you have to do is look at gerrymandering of districts.

America is fed up with the system

American voters are losing themselves in a sea of despair. A recent report by Rasmussen states 80% of American voters believe the wealthy and special interest group have too much power and influence over elections.

American voters are quitting the process and that is not good. The PEW Research Center found American voter participation to be very low when compared to other countries. During the 2012 presidential election, less than 54% of voting age Americans actually participated in the election process. Less than 37% participated in the 2014 midterm elections.

Losing hope and quitting the system gives "big money" a win. Both political parties want voters to be less engaged. Large contributors want less citizen involvement to compete against.

This problem can be solved by adding more political parties into the system.  Yes, you read that correctly!

Multiple parties are good…and not new to America!

America has the greatest diversity in the world. Yet currently we have the equivalent of a coin toss. A huge amount of money is spent on pushing out watered down political messages. For decades the message has been nothing more than "we're not them" rather than solutions to our problems.

Our two party political system is actually against the norm. Compared to the rest of the world, we have the fewest political parties involved in government. Our neighbors to the north and south have a greater amount of political diversity.

America's has not always been a two party system.  At the start of the Second World War there were FIVE political parties represented in Congress. There is a long history of multiple parties in American government. Diversity of political parties was a source of strength for our nation. We should return to the strong system of political diversity.

American already wants more political parties. Opinion polls over the years have shown increasing support by Americans for a third party. A recent Salon poll showed nearly half of Americans desperately want additional political parties.

More choices will empower the citizen

A multi-party system would reduce the influence of big money. Like his policies or not, Bernie Sanders went from a joke of a candidate to the national stage. Initially, larger donors were not with him. His success was based off his message resonating with a section of American voters.  Governor Gary Johnson is gaining public support as a candidate. Voters used to mock Libertarians and now they are being considered viable.

A multi-party system will bring government back into serving the people rather than themselves. Instead of an all or nothing system of politics, the art of sensible compromise would return to the halls of Congress.

A multi-party system would increase civic participation. The movements of Sanders, Stein, and Johnson are based off of dedicated smaller group participants. The message mattered greater than the money. Pundits are genuinely surprised at the amount of support being drained away from establishment candidates.

What can you do?

It starts with breaking the habit of shouting down someone who disagrees with you on a topic. If you refuse to listen to opinions you disagree with, you are contributing to the current problem. 

Just because you disagree with someone on a specific issue does not mean you will disagree on everything they believe. And in the event you completely disagree with them on everything you hold valued, just let them be and move on.

Stop painting with a broad brush. The realm of political ideology is vast.  Not everyone who disagrees with a progressive is a fascist. In turn, not everyone who disagrees with a conservative is a communist.  Don't mislabel those whom you disagree. Your disagreement does not make you the authority on their political beliefs. If you disagree with a person, avoid the knee jerk reaction, "You're not X... you are REALLY just a Democrat/Republican.” No, understand their belief may be a mix of Libertarian, Green, Socialist Worker, or even a Modern Whig.

Who knows with time and an open mind, your long held beliefs just might change.

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The Only Party That Can Save Social Security?

Most Americans are aware by now that Social Security is a ticking time bomb. As more baby boomers reach retirement age, the system is supporting more people relative to the number of workers paying into it. This demographic pressure is causing great strain on the funds available for paying out Social Security benefits: it's estimated that the Social Security trust fund will be depleted by 2033. After that point, the program will pay less and less for every dollar put into it, unless some kind of solution is found. According to a survey conducted by the American Institute of CPAs in April 2016, almost two-thirds (64%) of U.S. adults believe that ensuring the survival of Social Security should be the next president's top economic priority. 

While all the presidential candidates talk about protecting Social Security, and two of the three remaining candidates have offered specific details on their plans, a big question remains as to whether they can translate these campaign promises to results. When you consider the types of solutions currently being proposed—for example: cutting benefits, raising the retirement age, changing inflation adjustments, increasing the payroll tax cap, or taxing other kinds of income—they generally fall into one of two categories: (1) cutting benefits or (2) increasing revenue. With our current polarized political environment, the major candidates' proposals all fall into one category or the other, mostly the increasing revenue bucket. 

By relying on only one type of policy, the chances of getting a Social Security fix through America's already slow and contentious legislative process are much lower, at a moment when time is of the essence. Additionally, many of the policies being proposed are judged based on whether they can fund Social Security over the next 75 years. While this is a good start, by only focusing on the next 75 years the program runs the risk of being focused on buying and selling assets in the near term, leading us to face the same kind of funding crisis again starting in year 76, and worsening as future generations retire. We need a long-lasting solution to the Social Security shortfall. A sustainable, long run solution will likely have to combine elements from both types of policies. 

This is an opportunity for the Modern Whig Party to play a role. As a party founded by veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq standing against the country's deepening ideological divide, it embodies the pragmatism, centrism, and spirit of service we need to fix Social Security. Importantly, a long lasting fix for this problem is going to require sacrifice, both on the part of people paying into the system, and on the part of those receiving benefits. The longer we wait, the more painful the adjustment will be.

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School Violence -- The Whole Story

Our children now fight a war when they enter the schoolhouse every morning. Their lives at risk due to the issues facing society. We have involved them in our messes, and we now face a penalty. Our kids brawl in the schools we built for them. This is a tragic flaw in our society. But, how can we stop the battles in our schools? The potential solutions are endless.

First, we reeducate the children. Show them the destructive beast that is violence. Reform them. Show them a future that they never had a chance to grasp before. This seems beautifully enticing, but this path doesn’t make good on several fronts. Our children hardly ever listen to their teachers, for one; who’s to say they’ll listen to a reeducation program? Another, can you imagine the cost of a program that huge? The DARE program estimated to cost one billion dollars, our government has already spent enough - thanks.

So, reeducation isn’t what we’re looking for, what other bright ideas are there? Next, we discuss gun control. At the risk of sounding unprofessional, this teaches our children nothing. Our children now are learning, instead, that there’s a ten day waiting period after passing a background check. Is this what we want our children to learn? Instead of teaching them to dangers of violence, we teach them that they can’t have guns, whatsoever, any way you cut it.

Alright, that’s two solutions down, how many more can there be? Next, is the genius plan to arm the schools. Oh boy… To ignore the obvious flaw in this one, well, it’s a crime. To display the problem with this plan, I’ll start listing some characteristics of a structure, you tell me what it is.. You can’t just walk out, there are armed guards by the doors, and the people there are stressed out to the point that they could go off any second. No, not a prison, that’s a school. Alright, we’re done here.

The final solution, is to remove violence from the public mind. When major news channels run stories 24/7 about a school shooting, the kid becomes familiar with the idea of shooting up a school. The same goes for all forms of media. Now, violence has been in the media since the media existed, but media has never been able to be accessed by asking your phone for the latest headlines. We are now a society of headlines and grabbers, and this spreads the idea of shooting up a school.

Oh boy, that’s depressing. As Whigs we need to push for changes against school violence. We need to change society as a whole. Our own society is pushing for the end of school violence — but we’ve no clue where to start.

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