It is surreal and ironic that Congressman David Price, in 2021, as vice chair of the Democracy Reform Task Force, introduced bold campaign finance reform bills that aims to restrain the outsized influence of super PACs. “Our campaign finance system urgently needs an overhaul,” said Congressman David Price then. “Super PACs exercise extraordinary influence in our electoral process.”
Now, after 35 years of service to our district, Congressman David Price is retiring and a tsunami of PAC money from two sources—almost $1,700,000 so far—has been invested in an attempt to buy his seat. The opportunity to choose his successor should not be unduly influenced by the power of a billionaire who lives in the Bahamas and a conservative Super PAC that endorses Republican insurrectionists.
In a 2018 interview, Noam Chomsky pointed out: “There really is manipulation of elections, but it’s not coming from the Russians. It’s coming from the people who buy the elections.” He points to the work of Thomas Ferguson and colleagues including a 2018 study of congressional elections titled “How Money Drives US Congressional Elections” in which they find that the relationship between the proportion of money spent by the winning party and votes is close to a straight line.
The corruption of our electoral system must be recognized for what it is and denounced. We cannot continue to allow this to be normal. For far too many, cognitive dissonance happens from knowing that a once respected candidate is now dependent on corrupt money. Rationalizations abound trying to minimize the effects of this money on the electoral process and the quality of representation it will buy.
For perspective, this money has propelled Senator Foushee from being at half of the amount raised by the leading fundraising candidate (Commissioner Nida Allam) at the time, to triple the amount raised by Allam now.
This dark money is also cause for the biggest independent expenditure in NC democratic primary history —more than four times as large as the next one.
Sadly and tragically, this race is boiling down to people versus big money.
Although the platforms of our preferred candidates could be resonant and popular with voters, the excellence of their positions is not sufficient to overcome the avalanche of concentrated money power that is making them invisible.
Despite all the obstacles working against us, my hope is that many will hear over the noise and vote accordingly so that our progressive district may prove to be the exception to big money ruling. Too much is on the line, we cannot afford to send compromised representation to Congress.
Please join me and vote in unity for the strongest progressive candidate who is closest to having a chance against the dark money that is trying to buy our election: Please Vote for Nida Allam!
The author is a member of the Carrboro Town Council.
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