Americans Believe Elections are For Sale

With the shutdown of the federal government raising questions about whether money (campaign contributions) is fueling the motivation, it’s no wonder that Americans feel very skeptical about elections in general in this country today.

Two-thirds of Americans believe elections are for sale to the highest bidder.

That number, according to a CNN poll, is significantly higher than it was in the 90s. In addition, 86 percent of the public thinks elected officials in the nation’s capital are mostly influenced by the pressure they receive from campaign contributors.

These numbers reflect a growing cynical attitude the American population has toward our democracy. These sorts of attitude can lead to dwindling numbers participating in elections, further weakening the system.

Organizations like the Brennan Center for Justice have done studies and proposed ways to improve voter confidence in the electoral system and even the influence of money in politics. For example, in 2012, the Brennan Center released a report demonstrating that the New York City public financing system has fundamentally changed political campaigns: working and middle income residents in New York City donate more money to campaigns and make up a greater portion of candidates’ funding base than in the statewide system.