American Polotics Essay, Research Paper
American political participation is slowly declining. It is evident that to understand politics today requires a large amount of time and research. More so than the average voter can invest time into. Ideally it is up to the average citizen to elect leaders to decide the interests of society as a whole. American citizens who are not involved in political knowledge tend to be more stand offish when it comes to voicing their opinion in political polls. To them government, seems to becoming more confusing, and harder to follow as time goes on. This is due to a lack of clear differences between political parties and their views. In fact the views of the political parties are so distorted and hard to understand, that the average voter does not associate himself or herself in the voting process. It is evident that in the polls the average voter turnout has slowly been decreasing. This intern hurts the influence of public opinion, which openly expresses the ideas and views of ordinary citizens who have no special interest beyond the point of lowering taxes, and living in a humane yet equal society. Today it seems as if public policies are more directed by Special Interest Groups, Political Action Committees, and the media, rather than by its citizens. All of, which allows big money and big business to buy, influence and grasp control of our government.
A government that was designed by the people to respond to the will of the people does not seem to be the case. When average voters vote they are electing officials to produce policies that effect their lives. “Today voter’s are usually not as well informed about candidates’ policy positions.”(American Dem. P189) The government seems to ignore the fact that political participation is declining, due to the overwhelming influence of financial power in Washington. Politicians need large amounts of money to promote themselves to the people. So much that they spend a large majority of their time raising money. Which reflects the power of big money, and consumes the time of the government and its officials.
Elections now seem to be run by large corporations, which step in and are able to in a sense buy, political officials into office. They do this by donating money to their candidates’ campaign. There is a law to the amount of how much money big business are able to donate to a particular candidate, however there is no law to how much they can give to the PACs which support the same candidate. PACs are political action committees that are organized of private group to provide financial support to candidates seeking public office. Corporations, unions, and other interest groups provide contributions for private individuals seeking public office form PACs. They tend to back polotitions who are of influence over particular policies affecting their group. In fact PACs allow big businesses to shower candidates with enough money to run their campaign. In many cases PAC money tends to make congressional campaigns less competitive. Candidates who accept PAC money have an overwhelming financial arsenal to use agents their competitors. In the case that they win the election that particular business or PAC has now gained special access and influence in governmental affairs.
For instance take a corporation like Phillip Morris who make cigarettes. Now a major corporation like Phillip Morris does not want another tax on their cigarette. By donating money to particular candidates and their PACs who are agents more new taxes on cigarettes would be in their best interest. In tern if the candidate is elected to office, Phillip Morris and the PACs have now basically bought governmental influence in Washington.
Special Interest groups are similar to PACs and are used by big business to influence decision-making. They are organized associations of individuals who share similar interests or demands that can be represented before government officials. Such organizations are formed of labor unions, farm organizations, auto unions, and other general related interest groups. These groups tend to represent themselves by lobbying public officials directly. Campaign contributions, for interest groups purposes, help win access to government officials on behalf of particular issues and public policies. They contribute to election campaigns directly. Their idea is to persuade polotitions to accept their view and policies.
Since money plays a large role for the main interest groups like the National Association of Auto Dealers, other less advantaged interest groups that tend to coincide with more general public affairs tend to be less organized, underrepresented, and lack money to back up their view. In which case it is harder for them to influence decision making when it comes to pollicies affecting them. In a since money is drowning out the political process. This further detracts from general political participation, due to the influence of money.
The media has become the largest and most affective influence of political persuasion today. Candidates spend millions of dollars to run thirty-second ads on daytime. Theses aids usually are not so much as informative as they are distorting and coastly.. Politicians seem to back-stab each other with political slander, which further confuses and distorts the facts of their policies. Which ultimitly confuses the general public.
Political participation is declining due to the fact of big money. It seems that now more money equals more access and influence. It holds our entire political system hostage. While Special Interest Groups and PACs fuel political parties. It seems as if we get stuck with riddled laws, few tax breaks, and broken promises. Officials abuse public trust, by means of distorting the press, which contributes to political participation decline. As the cycle of big money grows in politics, it shuts out ever-greater numbers from participating in politics. Restrictions need to be placed on the amount of money an individual can receive to run for an election. Opening up public airways to challengers needs to be done, so as to better inform the public as a whole. A sense of meaningful reform has to be done soon. Ordinary citizens have to hold some sort of control, if not our democracy will continue traveling down a dangerous road where money and financial gain are most important.