An unknown politician recently ran for U.S. Congress and won. He had previously served as a county judge in a remote part of the congressional district. Most everyone overlooked him until midway through the election. The television was burning up with TV advertisements promoting him. A young man in Texas who had inherited a bunch of money had created his own Super PAC and was spending over $500,000 on helping the candidate get elected. He was elected and is in Congress today. Big money enabled big advertising.
Most of us who watched 60 Minutes recentlywere appalled by the story about our telemarketing Congress. Our congressional representatives have literally become telemarketers sitting in cubicles in a designated telemarketing building calling donors and asking for money. According to the 60 Minutes report our elected officials are expected to spend "hours" every day calling from a list and reciting a script to solicit contributions of at least $18,000 a day according to Rep. David Jolly of Florida. I wouldn't have believed this except 60 Minutes interviewed him and other elected congressional representatives who affirmed this reality and admit to this part of the job.
Most of us realize that a career politician has to always fundraise and politic for the next election. However, our congressional officials going to a designated building and dialing for dollars every day is taking away from what we elected them to do - represent us.
We have lots of problems in America. Our military and veterans are neglected. Our highways are neglected. Our bridges are neglected. Obamacare is a disaster. Our jobs are going to China and Mexico. Poverty is on the increase. Millions are hoping for a $15 an hour burger-flipping job. Thirty years ago people got jobs that fed their families, provided health care and a real retirement. Today, Americans can't afford to retire. We have 75-year-old people working minimum-wage jobs just to buy their groceries or pay their rent. College students are graduating with massive debts that take years to repay. What are our representatives doing in Congress to help us? Nothing. They are sitting in cubicles for hours each day trying to raise money for their party so they can keep their jobs two or six more years.
Super PACs are a bad idea. A corporation or anyone can donate massive amounts of money to a super PAC. This unlimited stream of money is used in repeated TV advertising to beat us down or brainwash us to the special interest's way of thinking.
Bernie Sanders will not be our next president. However, a candidate running a competitive campaign like he has run with the average contribution being $27 is to be applauded.
How do you know for whom to vote in the upcoming primaries and general election? Take note of who the super PACs are promoting and not promoting. Our best representation in Washington may be the one they are not promoting. If he or she can be elected, maybe they will not have to spend all their time down the street at the telemarketing center. Maybe they will actually have time to represent us. Of course without the big money they probably can't get elected and this takes us back to our problem of big money in politics.
Glenn Mollette is an syndicated columnist and author of 11 books and read in all 50 states. This column does not necessarily reflect the view of this paper.