Can we dispel the myth that “We the People” can change things by choosing different leaders through the vote? For the time being, I’ll ignore the fact that if we decide we need to change the leadership we have to wait, at least two years for Representatives – members of the, so-called, “People’s House”; in the case of the Presidency, it’s four years, and in the case of the Senate, it’s six years. Not only can a lot happen in that time but Americans are renowned for having very short memories.
So, ignoring all that, let’s address the real problem with this myth of changing leadership.
In 2013, I ran for the lowest level elected office – township council. My township has seven councilpersons and an elected mayor. Every two years, either four council seats or the mayoral position and three council seats are up for election. When I ran for council in 2013 it was a mayoral/three council seats election.
My township has had single party rule now for quite a few years and when a citizen’s group attempted to get meaningful Pay-to-Play legislation on the ballot, the Democrats torpedoed the effort. Essentially what we have is contractors with lucrative township contracts contributing in the six-figure range to, not only, get the Democrats re-elected but money that is also used to get the Mayor’s supported “school board team” elected, a position that has no pay running in an election that is supposed to be non-partisan.
In 2013, my four-member team was able to raise about $7,000 to aid in advertising our platform. The Democrats, through direct contributions and PAC contributions, all from township contractors, some who maxed out their legal contributions, collected and spent about $115,000.
When it comes to federal elections, the average man and woman do not select candidates, the Parties do that. If you thought you wanted to run for such a position, you need to consider how you can raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund a campaign. Once the parties announce their choices, we get to choose between two candidates and are usually faced with electing who we think is the lesser of two evils.
So, tell me again how we can effect change through the vote?