Many Americans, like me, look at the political system and feel so miniscule in comparison. Although the power to control our nation and our destiny was originally intended for the people, it now largely belongs to the biggest or richest players in the political system.
This system seems out of the range of control for normal citizens like us. While we can cast our votes, we cannot make them count in comparison with the scope and resources of powerful special interest groups.
In answer to the dominance of big donors, many states have begun reforming their election policy in order to empower the citizens. Connecticut was a national model when it passed its Citizen Election Program in 2005. This program sought to open up public funds for election campaigns as an alternative to accepting lobbyist or special interest group money.
Since candidates can only qualify by obtaining signatures within their districts, only candidates who genuinely have the support of the people they may one day represent will be nominated and funded. In addition, public financing eases the temptation of money from special interest groups and thus the influence of those groups on policy.
While Connecticut may have led the initial charge, our responsibility as leaders is not yet done. Through various legal alterations to the bill, many loopholes have been created that allow candidates to receive public funds while still receiving money from outside contractors and federal parties. What this does is undermine a system designed to empower ordinary people and the candidates who seek only their support.
While it would be easy to scrap the project, we would then end up in the same position that necessitated these reforms. Without this program, it would be difficult for citizens to have any say over who gets on the ballot, let alone who gets elected.
Citizens need to take control of our elections and take our government back from those who seek to define our future for us. In order to do this we must enact further legislation to strengthen this program and through it the governance by people.