My name is Patrick M McCormick and I have created this blog as a platform for my political views as well as those of select contributors.

I believe that American Politicians have lost sight of their goal: To uphold the Constitution and protect the rights of the people of the United States. They argue and bicker on the floor of their respective houses, positioning themselves for the next election, while they accomplish very little business for the citizens of this country.

Meanwhile our economy is sliding downward. Millions of our precious jobs have have been exported overseas. Our social safety net and other public services are being cut. Our middle class is rapidly disappearing and the numbers of citizens existing below the poverty line is increasing dramatically.

I plan to examine the causes of these terrible changes to our American way of life. Your comments will help us all arrive at some important conclusions.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A Campaign Promise; The Promise Made to be Broken

Article first published as A Campaign Promise; The Promise Made to be Broken on Technorati.

Commentary by
Patrick McCormick

When a candidate runs for political office, He or She makes many promises to US, the voters. Voters expect those promises will be taken seriously after the election. It is the reason a citizen chooses one candidate over another. It is the reason why citizens join political parties. Campaign promises drive the election process.

Once elected, the candidate takes this oath of office.

I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.

Once sworn in, the newly elected often move their campaign promises to the back burner; they have other fish to fry. The oath of office goes on another rear burner. There is a reason for this behavior, cash!

It doesn’t matter which party they represent, a political candidate must raise huge sums of money to run a media campaign. Stop and think about what it is they do to raise this money, because money is the name of the game.

Is it all just a game they play? Will they promise anything for our votes? Are campaign promises to the voters simply a stairway to that great big pie in the sky, a place where they can grab a piece of the federal budget for their own purposes? Do they dance around their oath of office with the same intent?

Voters become apathetic when they believe elected officials stop caring about them as soon as the votes are in. Once a citizen believes he, or she, has been duped, it is easy to simply stop voting at all. A good citizen cannot allow this to happen.

Your vote, combined with the votes of all other citizens, is the power that keeps the United States of America a Republic. There are forces all around US that would love to diminish the power of the American voters and take some of it for themselves. These same forces are the causes of voter apathy. It’s not complicated, like I stated earlier, it’s all about money.

It takes huge sums of money to elect someone to the House of Representatives, to the Senate or the Presidency. Competitiveness among candidates has created an ever-growing demand for media advertisement. The cost of running an effective campaign for Federal Office has jumped from a few million dollars to hundreds of millions. These sums are far above the personal resources available to most candidates. All candidates raise funds by soliciting campaign donations.

This is the reason a candidate seems to forget his, or her, campaign promises. They have made other promises to third party entities for the funds necessary to advertise their campaigns.

Our political office holders have also manipulated the laws controlling campaign financing over the years. At the present, a concerned voter can no longer determine where the funds originate. Shrouded in secrecy, it is now impossible to determine what financial obligations a candidate incurred while running for office. It is impossible to make a connection between an offices holders vote and donations made during the campaign.

In the private sector, this practice would constitute a conflict of interest and be illegal. Our elected officials will tell you that it is necessary for them to be able to campaign effectively. You can believe it if you wish, but I can think of several other ways for politicians to campaign on the internet that would not be anywhere near as expensive.  

Why is this practice so dangerous to the voters? Look at it this way; suppose a foreign government wants a new trade agreement. They want an agreement that favors them or gives them a financial advantage over US. Instead of requesting the new treaty through diplomatic channels, they donate cash to many political campaigns. They get their treaty.

Look at our current imbalance of trade.  Our Trade Agreements allow this kind of thing to happen. One of the duties of a Senator is to ratify treaties with foreign sovereigns. How many Senators have taken campaign donations from countries on this list? One would be too many; I suspect there are a lot more.

The problem reaches farther than Trade Agreements; large American corporations, foreign corporations, foreign governments and special interests donate billions of dollars to political campaigners. Once in office your candidate must spend a large portion of his, or her, time repaying these favors. They no longer have time to keep their campaign promises to US, the voters. They are working for the special interests not the citizens they represent. This is the reason for broken campaign promises and most voter apathy.
We can begin to change this during the upcoming midterm elections. I will not tell you how to vote. I will tell you how I am going to vote. I am not going to vote for any established party member, no Democrats, no Republicans and no Tea Party candidates. I am only going to vote for independent candidates that do not hold a current federal office. If I cannot find an independent, I will vote for the candidate who has raised the least amount of money, thereby incurring the fewest obligations to third parties. Henceforth, I will never vote for a candidate that does not make his, or her, campaign financing transparent.

After the election, I will write email and formal letters explaining why I am not voting for any incumbents. Then I will watch my candidates voting records. It is important to verify your candidates have kept their promises to you. If all we have is our votes, we must use them relentlessly to weed out those that do not keep their campaign promises.

We must do this until we get campaign funding rules that favor the voter’s not third party special interests and foreign countries. Transparent campaign financing will help insure that the Government of the People, by the People and for the People will not perish from this earth. It will help insure that your candidates represent you and not some giant corporation, foreign government or special interest group.

If we do this, your vote will become important to elected officials once more. If we do not, we stand a good chance of becoming “The United Corporations of America”, or something even worse.

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