Money in American politics – short version


Money plays a huge role in American politics, so huge some people think it is like «legalized corruption». There are several reasons for this:

  1. The American political system is person-based. There are only two parties, but each politician has a different set of opinions and ideas. They don’t have to vote the way their party tells them to. That means that they can be influenced.

  2. American elections are extremely expensive. An important reason is negative advertisment on TV – ads attacking other politicians.

  3. Therefore, politicians need a lot of money to get elected. Anyone can donate (give) money to support politicians – individual persons, organisations and corporations (companies). Most of the money comes from very rich individuals or large organizations and corporations.

  4. When someone has won an election and is a member of Congress, it’s time to think about the next election. It is NOT smart to vote in a way that the people who gave you money don’t like. Then they will not support you next time.

  5. The result is that politicians will often not do what the voters want, but what the billionaires, organisations and corporations who gave them money want.

Below is a clip of Donald Trump explaining the problem. Donald Trump is himself a billionaire who has paid money to politicians before, and mocked the other presidential candidates in the 2016 election for taking money from corporations. He claimed he would fund his campaign with his own money, but he ended up accepting money from corporations and rich folks just like the others.

However, Trump is an example that money isn’t everything: his opponent, Hillary Clinton, spent far more money than him on the campaign, and he won anyway. One of the resons why he won is probably that he dared to say that money in politics is a huge problem. Most Americans agree with that. So far, however, he has done nothing to fix it.


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