fresh voices from the front lines of change







People who follow politics often reach the conclusion that average Americans are kind of dopey and don’t really understand what’s going on. After all, they often hold contradictory views and vote against their self-interest.

But sometimes there’s just no denying that being outside the political bubble has its advantages: they see through the bullshit.

An alarming number of Americans report that their concerns about the influence of donors to outside political groups make them less likely to engage in democracy. Communities of color, those with lower incomes, and individuals with less formal education are more likely to disengage due to concerns about how much influence is wielded by Super PAC donors.

  • Two in three Americans — 65% — say that they trust government less because big donors to Super PACs have more influence than regular voters. Republicans (67%) and Democrats (69%) uniformly agree.
  • One in four Americans — 26% — say that they are less likely to vote because big donors to Super PACs have so much more influence over elected officials than average Americans.
  • Less wealthy and less educated Americans were significantly more likely to say they would be less likely to vote because of Super PAC influence: 34% of respondents with no more than a high school education, and 34% of those in households with an annual income less than $35,000, said they would be less likely to vote.
  • A higher number of African-American and Hispanic voters also stated that the disproportionate influence of Super PAC donors will discourage them from voting: 29% of African Americans and 34% of Hispanics said they were less likely to vote because of Super PAC influence.

I assume that’s the plan.

Large majorities of Americans believe that members of Congress will favor the interests of those who donate to Super PACs over those who do not — and that Super PAC donors can pressure elected officials to alter their votes.

  • More than two-thirds of all respondents (68%) — including 71% of Democrats and Republicans — agreed that a company that spent $100,000 to help elect a member of Congress could successfully pressure him or her to change a vote on proposed legislation. Only one in five respondents disagreed.
  • More than three-quarters of all respondents — 77% — agreed that members of Congress are more likely to act in the interest of a group that spent millions to elect them than to act in the public interest. Similar numbers of Republicans (81%) and Democrats (79%) agreed. Only 10% disagreed.

Honestly, I wish I could come up with some stirring words to make people feel differently, but I can’t. When they’re right, they’re right. American politics is drowning in money and I can’t blame average working people for figuring that it’s every man and woman for themselves.




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