Everyone decries the big money in politics and how politicians are bought and paid for by Wall Street and the Koch brothers. I agree there's a problem here; but I'm not sure what it is. Big money does buy access and advertisements. But without all the brochures, bumper stickers and television ads paid for by special interests, the only political voice you'd ever hear would come from just one source: the media pundits.
Besides, does money even matter that much? Jeb Bush has all
the money. (According to CNBC, Bush has received about $34 million in
contributions from Wall Street, Clinton $17 million and
Rubio $10 million.) But it's Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders -- love them or hate them --
who have ginned up the most attention and enthusiasm. How did they do it? Through the
media. So really, it's not money that rules in politics, it's the
And let's face it, the "mainstream media" (from MSNBC to FOX and everyplace in
between) has sold out to big money just as much, or even more than the politicians.
They'll do anything for ratings, for the
ad dollar. Just look at how they're cashing in on Donald Trump!
And by the way, if you are interested in the widening gap
between rich and poor in this country, don't just blame Wall Street.
That's part of the problem, no doubt, but it goes beyond that. Take a look at an
article called Rent Seeking Is Too Damn High from the website FiveThirtyEight.
So does this all say who I'm
going to vote for? I'd vote for the candidate who's going to bring us together. But that's not Clinton or Sanders; it's not Trump or Bush.
Amid all the political sturm und drang, there are recent rumors that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg might
get into the presidential race. And whatever happened to New York Governor
Andrew Cuomo? I like Governor Cuomo. I like Michael Bloomberg, too, but then I'm from New York, and I don't know how many people share my enthusiasm.
In the end I might have to swallow hard and vote for . . . well, I don't know. I guess I'm uncommitted, or just confused. But it doesn't bother me that Clinton or anyone else changes their mind, even if I don't always agree. I do not
think there's any virtue in never changing your mind. To paraphrase economist John Maynard Keynes: When the facts change, you should change your mind. Or as novelist Hakan Nesser wrote, "It's only cows who never change their opinions."
However, the New York primary isn't
until mid-April. By that time over 30 states will have voted. The
candidate will likely already have been selected. So, ultimately, it won't matter who I vote
And in the general election, the Democratic candidate will win New York. The Democrat always
wins New York. Just as the Republican always wins Texas. A vote only
matters if you live in one of the ten or so swing states that really
determine who the next president will be.
instead of all these primaries and caucuses, maybe we should have one
big super national primary day, everyone voting at the same time. Does
that make sense?
And don't get me started on the electoral college. Four
presidential candidates have won the popular vote, but lost the
election: Andrew Jackson in 1824 lost to John Quincy Adams (but won outright in 1828); Samuel Tilden in 1876 lost to Rutherford B. Hayes; Grover Cleveland in 1888 lost to Benjamin Harrison (but beat him outright in 1892); and Albert Gore in 2000 lost to George W. Bush.
Could something like that happen again? Boy oh boy, there would be quite an uproar if it did.