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Money for President

Our biggest problem isn't Trump; it's too much money in politics


  • Caleb Walsh illustration

American voters can probably all agree that this year's election is the biggest crap show that ever was. The whole world is watching us, wondering if we're going to elect the biggest racist, misogynistic, unintelligent crybaby in the world. And I've never felt more disillusioned by our democratic system than now. If we elect Donald Trump, we will deserve what he does to us.


I have a much more jaded view of the Constitution than most people. I believe the Founding Fathers were vested in their own self-interest and in no way wanted this to be the land of the free, except if you were a land-owning white man. Despite that, the Constitution does have ideals that can guide us as a nation, and one of those ideals is that any U.S. citizen, 35 years old or older, can become president. We tell our children they can become president one day, and we even believe it ourselves.

But the reality is far from the dream we sell our children. Even if they do well in school, go to an Ivy League college, become elected in some local political race, then maybe advance to the state level, the likelihood of one of our children becoming president is slim. Do you want to know the reason why it's so unlikely? We've allowed politics to become a race of who has the most net worth — not who is the most worthy based on merit, business acumen, knowledge of foreign and domestic affairs or diplomatic skill.

One of the ways that Trump has been successful thus far is because he has money. Money has a way of buying undeserved space in the world of politics. It also has a way of making people seem like they are more worthy than someone without it. I can tell you that I know countless people more worthy of being our president than Mr. Trump.

I much prefer my national leaders to be educated, knowledgeable and skilled diplomats. I also prefer them to have a modicum of respect for every race of people, for women, for our environment and certainly for our armed forces and veterans. I can assure you that Trump in no way respects anyone, not even himself. He lacks any attributes of a good leader, and yet he stands before us as the Republican nominee, a man not worth the silk tie he had made in China.

There is a solution to keeping idiots like Trump and corporate shills like Hillary Clinton from the White House, and from Congress too. We have to make elections publicly funded, we have to eliminate super PACs and we must overturn Citizens United.

The influence of money in politics is not a new problem, it's an ages-old problem. I think it's high time that we do something about it. Publicly funded elections would allow politics to shift from being about who has money to who has the most innovative strategies in making our country, and our world, better. I can't imagine anyone, either on the right or left, being against making politics about actual policies for our country.

I know that I would certainly prefer a country where it's not a fairy tale to tell my beautiful, intelligent daughter that her work ethic, her intelligence, her grit, her honor and her ability to be a leader is what counts. And that is a worthy dream for every American child. ♦

Tara Dowd, an enrolled Inupiaq Eskimo, was born into poverty and now owns a diversity consulting business. She is an advocate for systemic equity and sees justice as a force that makes communities better.


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