Let me put on my cap and gown and be Mr. Political Science for a few minutes.
It used to be a truism that all politics is ultimately local. Only now it looks like all local politics is ultimately national.
Originally U.S. Senators were appointed by the legislatures of their respective states, to represent their states in Congress. But when the 17th Amendment changed that, making senators elected by direct popular vote, it opened the door for the whole nature of the Senate to change.
Senators no longer represent their states. They represent the nationwide special interests–like teachers’ unions, for instance–whose contributions finance their election. Besides securing pork barrel projects for their states from time to time, U.S. Senators have very little to do with the people who voted for them.
What we see today is national political organizations pouring cascades of money into states to elect their favorite candidates. This money comes from out of state: the nearly $30 million, for instance, that Nancy Pelosi–from California–funneled into the West Virginia Senate race. To Joe Manchin, the Democrat. Who will, if elected, continue to represent the national interests of the Democrat Party.
When they’re not pouring out-of-state money into an election, the special interests are providing, free of charge, consultants and “volunteers.” Often they provide those along with the boxcar-loads of money.
They finally made it illegal to accept campaign contributions from foreign donors. Duh–why did they even have to discuss that? Now something ought to be done about deciding state elections with out-of-state money.
Because, you see, it’s undermining our federal republic. Our elected representatives aren’t representing us anymore. They represent the big fat cats who pay their bills and get them into office. Political parties, unions, foundations–our representatives don’t have time for us, whom they are supposed to represent. Only around election time do they remember we exist.
We need to find some ways to jog their memories.