One of the key challenges facing America today is campaign finance reform. As a result from the 2010 Citizens United vs FEC Supreme Court decision, there has been a huge influx of corporate money into politics. This large influx of money has the potential to crowd out the interests of the average voter in favor of the corporate donors. Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders made campaign finance reform a key message during the primary – and rightly so.
This Bloomberg article provides in depth details on how much money was spent in the 2016 Presidential election. As of 10/28/16, Hillary Clinton had raised over $1b (spent $900m) while Donald Trump raised over $500m (spent $430m). The sheer size of these numbers quantifies just how large of a problem we currently have.
So, whats the solution? Overturning the Citizens United ruling would be a good start. At the same time, we need to be cognizant that money tends to follow power. The more influence Washington has, the more likely corporate money and special interests will try to lobby for political favor. Ultimately, the only way to counteract this is to stay informed and vote for the issues that are important to you.