Owned and Operated

The Nation is held a student writing contest and one of the five finalists, Ned Resnikoff, a high school student from Middletown, Connecticut wrote this piece on the presidential race, and what he terms the "political third rail" of curtailing the power of corporations, and the influence they exert on elections and policy.

Resnikoff argues that the corporate stranglehold on elections, and elected officials, via the campaign finance system makes genuine debate about the social, economic, and environmental policies of corporations a dangerous proposition for any candidate. Among the policies he suggests be implemented is public financing of campaigns to curtail this influence:

 

Public financing of campaigns is also a central part of reducing corporate power in America. While public financing's detractors argue that it is fundamentally undemocratic, it will in fact bring America closer to the democratic ideal we purport to hold so dear.

There is much about the current campaign model that is fundamentally undemocratic, but nowhere is that more true than in the field of campaign finance. It is virtually impossible to run for Congress or the White House without becoming a corporate-sponsored candidate, and corporate-sponsored candidates act more on behalf of the corporations that pay to put them in office than the actual human beings that vote for them.

Public campaign finance will fix this by leveling the playing field and ensuring that candidates are selected based on their ability to present their case, not how much money they can raise from GE or Bechtel.