The Vermont Cynic

Corporate influence and elections

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Most people I know, including those who vote, have no idea what corporate lobbying is, which I find completely disturbing.

As a result, the majority of people in my circle of friends are easily led to believe that the only dirty politicians are Republicans who stifle heavier taxation and increased government spending because they want to keep their wads of money at the expense of the poor and the economy at large.

While this is certainly true of many conservatives, it also leads many people to hold a view of liberal politicians as noble and valiant leaders who are fighting for rights and equality, without factoring in their corruption as well.

The easiest way to explain it is through an example that my high school teacher gave me, which goes as follows:

There are two shoe companies, one American and one foreign. The American company, simply by virtue of being American, will likely sell more expensive shoes than the foreign company will.

As a result, the foreign company has greater sales, as cheaper products will likely sell more among the general public. The American company is then at risk of losing the competition.

However, the American company  has one crucial advantage: corporate lobbying.

As a power move intended to kill the competition, the American company sends a corporate lobbyist to strike a deal with any politician who will listen, Republican and Democrat alike.

The American company will put their name and money behind the candidate if the candidate supports a law to place a tariff on foreign shoes in order to make them more expensive.

The consequence is that foreign shoes will cost more due to the government-imposed tax, and the American company will thrive, as their shoes are now cheaper.

They have won the competition through the corruption and bribing of both conservative and liberal politicians.

These sorts of deals between politicians and corporations have played a major role in American affairs.

Ever since the Citizens United court case was decided, which allowed corporations to make massive private donations to political campaigns, no politician of any party has ever been able to win a major election without support from those major companies.

Politicians, therefore, must advocate policies that support corporate interests if they want to have any chance to be influential in federal politics.

To make it even worse, these facts are not common knowledge to people who are voting for these politicians.

It is natural, then, that they would be susceptible to believe in the portrayals of politicians that are given to them through media, a media that leaves out these facts at every turn.

(ABC’s political thriller, “Scandal,” is the only time to my knowledge where a show or movie has ever displayed the corporate corruption of both liberal and conservative politicians.)

This is a reality that should be known to anybody who will form any opinions about American politics.

Hopefully this reduces the reader’s gullibility with respect to politicians of every party, and, if they’re voters, will allow them to make more informed decisions come Election Day.

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The University of Vermont's Independent Voice Since 1883
Corporate influence and elections