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(Eighteen-minute read) 

First, money is a medium of exchange that lets us earn, buy, and sell completely different things in the same units.

On top of this, money is also a unit of account—i.e. it lets us put the prices of very different things in the same terms.

This is why private wealth impacts public life, with the world of politics full of lobbyists. 

Money has always shaped the process of political competition and influences policymaking but most of us are unaware of how money works, behind the scenes in the political theater, it is a year-round issue that dictates the daily life of the nation.

Money finds its way into politics in myriad ways — 

Any political campaign lives or dies by its funding and for a long time, there has been a popular myth about how everyday voters who outnumber the wealthy will collectively donate more money than the few donations of the wealthy.

The influence of cash within politics could be called dark money.

It turns politicians’ existence into serving their donors instead of their voters, which affects the policies they support, how they allocate government spending, and their expressed values.

Regardless of our personal feelings, money makes the world (and democracy) go round.

It seems unfathomable that these external entities have such leverage in our election process.

Whether elected officeholders betray their voters, prioritizing interest groups or single campaign donors, remains a question to be answered in the public sphere. 

The super-wealthy class is almost single-handedly funding elections, which impacts our government’s overall functionality and integrity, meaning the power lies in the hands of few.

Cash has become a determining factor for who wins the most crucial elections like the president of the USA. 

most expensive presidential campaign

 

Since 1980 if you add it all up it comes to $ 105 billion 349 million.   

There’s way way way too much money in politics and most of it is having a corrupting, undue influence and locking out the voices that count.

For too long, money has been the one thing that has reigned supreme in a democracy.  

The influx of cash from corporations and interest groups sways the ways our political leaders pass legislation that supports these entities, regardless of the public’s best interest.

It allows corporations to buy leverage that alters the fabric of our economy.

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Fighting undue influence and corruption from political financing requires a clear understanding of the difference between unlawful influence on public administration and behavior and breach of trust of voters.

The former requires precise regulation of those sectors of administration that usually lend themselves to compensate campaign donors.

The potential entry point in the public sector can vary along with several channels of influence.

Beyond political advertising and election contributions, cash is influential in the lobbying industry. 

A ridiculous game in which corporations are people and money is magically empowered to speak. Allowing people and corporate interest groups and others to spend an unlimited amount of unidentified money has enabled certain individuals to swing any and all elections.  Donal Trump and referendums like Brexit.

While banning all campaign donations is an option, a comprehensive approach will take into account private agents who can resort to lobbying, personal networks, or corruption.

The truth requires that we call the corrosion of money in politics what it is – it is a form of corruption and it muzzles more of us than it empowers, and it is an imbalance that the world has taught us can only sow the seeds of unrest.

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Money cannot always buy the best election results – Trump – Robert Mugabe – Crown Prince Abdullah – Kim Jong-un – Bashar al-Assad –Saparmurat Niyazov –  Putin – Idi Amin Saddam Hussein – Mengistu Haile Mariam – Augusto Pinochet – Pol Pot – Charles Taylor – Suharto – Mobutu Seko to name just a few dead and alive.

As of today, there are 50 dictatorships in the world.

But the millionaire class and the billionaire class increasingly own the political process, and they own the politicians that go to them for money.

It’s time to get big money out of politics., and have a system of scrutiny to ensure that no special access or call time with rich donors or big-dollar fundraisers to permanently eliminate big money from our politics and return it to the people.

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Our democracy shouldn’t be bought and paid for by the wealthy and powerful.

It belongs to all of us or does it with the arrival of Big data the next currency of politics now being used to directly influence our decisions.

Data brings change to much more than just the commercial side of our lives.

We have to acknowledge that our data has much more than just a “one-shot” value.

The fact that Facebook and other social networks collect data on us is presented as something outrageous but not in the political world.  

Putting you into an “opinion bubble” by better targeting political ads and thus motivating you to actually go and vote, and become (unknowingly) an ambassador for the power that has you in its aim, exists. 

Data as a Political Asset: valuable stores of existing data on potential voters exchanged between political candidates, acquired from national repositories, or sold or exposed to those who want to leverage them

Data as Political Intelligence: data that is accumulated and interpreted by political campaigns to learn about voters’ political preferences and to inform campaign strategies and priorities, including creating voter profiles and testing campaign messaging.

Data as Political Influence: data that is collected, analyzed, and used to target and reach potential voters with the aim of influencing or manipulating their views or votes.

In reality, the same problems with money and now data have existed for years, with huge amounts of personal data being sold to corporate clients. And yet, we only start panicking when we see how the illegal, or barely legal trade of our life patterns collected by social networks impacts our political choices.

Knowing where we spend our time, what media we watch, what books we read, what food we prefer, and what words are we most likely to use in our tweets makes the difference.

But what is it that makes the politicians “addicted to big data like it’s campaign cash”,

Unfortunately, this “addiction” to data has induced politicians and their campaign managers into the same illusion that businesses are struggling with right now:

Big data allows reliable prediction and, obviously, politics, as the very structure of societal governance, is heavily impacted.

It is, indeed, a problem.

The amount of information that companies have about who we are and what we are as social units is so huge, that it is this data reshaping the very fabric of our societies.

Most people believe — because of huge public buzz scandals like the one of Cambridge Analytica — that big data in politics serves the goals of better manipulation.

The issue of data collection in the interest of the political actors must not be reduced to just cynical Frank Underwood-style power brokers buying data on where we eat and what we watch on Netflix and who our friends are to better sell us their quotes about how they are gonna make our lives better.

The overwhelming power of the big brother that tracks our every step raises the question.  If societies value equality of information, open debate, and transparency, these trends should be of concern?

One thing we know for sure is that the clear trend of getting more and more data involved in political campaigning and decision-making is there.

Without considering these questions, there is a danger that any response may have unintended consequences and fail to advance the principles we want to uphold.

Bribery is human nature and the only way to expose it is with transparency requirements that enable the media, public interest groups, and parties to engage in this debate.

The manipulation of the future political result, by algorithms is only a click away.

We will still need (yes, NEED) tons of “money in politics.”

Without big donors, how many Independent candidates will be able to go up against the dark money and deep, oligarch pockets?

Ok, let’s figure out where that money goes. 

All human comments are appreciated. All like clicks chucked in the bin.