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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

FRANSEN: Lifting of donation cap endangers voters’ role in elections


elena fransenWhen you take the cap off of a bottle of pop, the pop starts to flatten and lose its flavor.

That’s what happened to the bottle that was opened four weeks ago and remains in my fridge, and it’s what happened now with the United States Supreme Court lifting the cap on overall campaign donations for individual donors.

Based on the Court’s ruling Wednesday, there is no longer a limit to how much money overall donors can contribute to candidates during campaign season, though they cannot give more than $2,600 per candidate per election.

This decision adds to Citizens United, a court ruling from 2010 which made it unconstitutional to prevent workers unions and corporations from donating to election candidates.

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Individual donors will be able to give directly to whichever candidates they support, even those running in other states. There is also a possibility that the donors could set conditions and terms for candidates to meet in order to receive funds.

In a March study conducted by United Republic, a nonpartisan nonprofit with the mission to increase awareness of the influence money has on politics, statistics showed how candidates who raised the most during congressional campaigns were nine times more likely to be elected in 2012. Winning candidates typically outspent their opponents 20 to one.

Money talks a lot more than votes. The democratic election process will be jeopardized by this decision, as the average voter loses control of which candidates or party can continue and what their intentions are. Voters already feel disconnected to the election process. The added control of elections to wealthy donors only intensifies the feeling of helplessness that comes with government for most people.

Candidates for all elections, from presidential to state representative, will be less accountable to the voting population and more accountable to large donors.

The excuse for eliminating the cap was to limit government control in elections, but this just shifts the control over to those with money. Rather than relinquishing control of elections to the voters, where it surely belongs, the select few with piles of cash can dictate what happens on a large scale.

Big money will be king, and there is little the average voter could do to match that power when the government cannot contain it. Politics is being opened up to more money in the hands of a few instead of more active participants.

As a young voter, I find it disheartening that whoever brings in the most donor contributions will likely be victorious rather than the person who garnered the most voter support. It’s not like I have a lot of money to spare for campaign contributions. Lifting the cap hinders the voting process rather than tailoring it to the public. This is a problem that should be evaluated further, because we know what happens when big money businesses go unregulated: bad things.

There is a huge risk of elections alluding prospective voters, letting it become flat like the now disgusting grape Fanta in my fridge.

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