The road to getting the corrupting influence of big private interests out of government has been, and continues to be long and difficult. We all know this. Even so, advocates for reform were looking to the 2012 Conventions as a ray of hope for both parties to address the issue. Nick Penniman, President of “Fund for the Republic” writes that the Republican Party’s platform is “openly hostile” to reform, while the Democrats’ remains “disappointingly tepid.” He continues, noting that:
Indeed, that nothing-happening feeling [in government] is pervasive. That feeling that Washington has been shut down. That we’re no longer capable of solving our most vexing problems — problems that loom larger every day. That the people we elect to represent our best interests have become more interested in their own careers and the desires of their donors than in our collective future. That, somehow, slowly, tragically, the magnificent experiment of American democracy — of a republic that derives its power from all of the people — has somehow come to a grinding halt.
[Some] of us did predict that, unless the money-in-politics problem was solved, the other Big Problems wouldn’t be. And, indeed, they’ve mushroomed: The massive wealth divide; a short-sighted energy policy; the rocketing cost of health care; crony capitalism (and the financial meltdown that resulted from it); a misguided and expensive war on drugs; wasteful spending, both on the left and right. These were many of the themes then, and they still are at today’s Shadow Conventions in large part because well-financed special interests have been able to make sure that reform doesn’t happen in Washington.
And there it is; money in politics stagnates the political process, resulting in a lack of progress that halts reform that would–in turn–help people. The conventions were an opportunity for either party to come forward and champion the second most important issue to the American people, but neither party chose to stand up and combat the corruption which cripples American democracy.