Gravity of Wealth
Democracy can take many forms; for example, the United States of America at is genesis only allowed white land-owning males to vote in elections. Over time, this expanded in stages to encompass an ever greater amount of people. We now have a larger amount of people able to express their political will than ever before, but this does not mean that all are able to express their will equally.
This is because their ability to magnify their will through advertisements, campaign donations, and lobbying is not equal among all. Money is power, and the more money you have, the more power you have to establish your desires. It is much easier to promote an idea if you buy hundreds of news stations to broadcast scripts favorable to your interests rather then going door to door as a concerned citizen trying to convince voters that your view is the correct one. It is also much easier to influence government legislation if you have hundreds of millions of dollars to do it rather than writing a letter.
This flaw in American democracy has been compounded by the Citizens United ruling in 2010 that enabled corporations and SuperPACs to give money to politicians without disclosing where the cash came from. This is an avenue that the Russians exploited when they funneled money into the NRA to promote candidates that worked in Russia’s interests. Candidates such as Beto O’Rourke and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez pledged to not take any money from SuperPACs, but this does not mean they will be able to succeed against candidates that do take that money.
Money is power, and power must not be concentrated in a democracy if it is to remain a democracy. Ergo, money must not be concentrated; this is a problem, because wealth is calcifying at a terrifying rate in America. Measures must be taken to reduce the effect money can have in politics; besides overturning Citizens United, actions that can be taken include mandating a limited campaign season for elections so those with the resources can’t spend a year promoting their candidate’s name recognition. There is also the option that candidates are given a set amount of cash by the government to campaign with, they receive this cash after getting a required amount of signatures to be put on the ballot. If one wants to strike at the heart of the issue, we could follow the example of the Gracchus brothers and put a cap on the amount of wealth one person can hold.
These reforms will not happen until they are talked about enough in the public sphere, and due to the two-party system, we are cursed with two organizations that are backed by those who would lose power if these reforms were to take place. The necessity and complexity of the repairs America needs is daunting, but this is our burden as citizens to bear. Silence is complicity.