The Pathogenesis of the US Political Cancer
According to Harvard Law School professor and activist Lawrence Lessig, the outcome of elections is decided ahead of the vote by a tiny fraction of the population -- the donors who give to Super PACs. Lessig believes that we, as American citizens, can change this. Using his unique presentation style of rapid-fire visuals, he discussed some of his efforts toward reform, including Mayday PAC and the NH Rebellion and inspired the audience toward action.
An introduction to what cancer is and how it is the by-product of broken DNA replication
Many of the cancers that confront the human body are a result of the interaction of the genetic makeup of the individual and the environment in which we function. When it comes to the cancer of the American political system understanding the environment for cancer development is crucial. We had previously noted that the genetic makeup defining the politics of the US, the US constitution, as noted by James Madison, was established to avoid some of the challenges faced in developing and governing people in a particular location.
This section will address the pathology that has emerged over the past 250 years in our politics. An understanding of the pathology will enlighten our treatment plan. There are many mechanisms that have shaped our current “Pathology”. There are numerous “clinical examples” of the manifestation of the pathology. We will focus on the following interrelated processes that have poisoned our political environment:
the role of money in American politics
crony capitalism, corporate welfare, and rent-seekers
the manipulation of information, the emergence of media echo chambers supported by information technology
elections, gerrymandering and other political manipulation
the changing role of citizens
evolution of digital technology
The way our founders designed American democracy, the role of the elected representatives was to go to Washington and immerse themselves in information and learn more, but always keep in mind, how is this going to affect my constituents? What is in their best interests? Or, to put it another way, how are they going to react if I vote this way or make this speech? Now, because representatives and senators spend five to six hours a day every day begging for money from wealthy interests and wealthy individuals to build up a war chest, so they can buy their television commercials, the next day, when they go to vote or make a speech, they think to themselves, how is this going to affect my fund-raising? And so their constituents take a back seat unless it is an exceptional situation, where the public is passionately aroused.
The role of money in American politics
1. The rising cost of elections
2. Specific pieces of legislation
3. Greed and self-interest
4. Ways that money influences politics
Our representative democracy, based on elections, has evolved into an expensive proposition. Money plays an ever-increasing role in elections and with it the energy of the elected officials to raise funds to win elections. There is overwhelming evidence that money influences access to decision making. The cost of running for office has made the search for money a top priority for elected officials. Money has overtime become a ticket for access to the elected politicians. The search and need for huge sums of money make the politicians dependent on the special interest that hopes to get an advantage.