Below are the most popular comments by the readers of the NY Times article. They are poignant, passionate and powerful. They speak from the people's perspective on the state and solution to our nation's corrupt candidate campaign finance system.
Some form of public financing is the answer; please go to Public Campaign for just one of the many Washington, DC-based non-governmental organizations watching and pushing for this solution; you will find a description of public financing (or sometimes called Fair Elections) and find ways you can support the cause.
Big money in politics is the source of many, if not most, of the scandals you read about everyday in our government. Please do your part in this eternal struggle for real democracy and act today.
From: Karen Garcia, New Paltz, NY
In a country where 94% of all elections are decided by which candidate raises the most money, democracy is nothing but a sham. Citizens are invited to pull the lever every four years for a one percent candidate who has learned to be loyal to his own kind.
We are being asked to choose between Obama, Inc and Romney, Inc. We are invited to to participate in what is essentially a mere spectator sport for the masses. Pick a side and root for your team. Revel in the illusion that your participation matters. Heads they win, tails you lose. The only victors are the boards of corporate givers/directors, many of whom sit at both tables, hedging their bets the good old American way. Donors who invest huge chunks of money to campaigns are playing with weighted votes. They have the golden ticket with a name attached. We are but fleeting anonymous blips on a touch screen.
What makes this particular contest particularly odious is the recent invasion of Citizens United, which allows unlimited corporate -- even foreign -- interests to decide the outcome. The constant and shameless grasping for money by both candidates is a gross violation of the public trust. With luck and grit, we will succeed in overturning C.U. with a constitutional amendment. Our venal politicians certainly cannot be counted on to reform the system once they are elected. A systemic culture of greed and pay-to-play has irrevocably corrupted them.
From: martin weiss, mexico, mo
"I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country. "-- Thomas Jefferson
I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the Country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed." Abraham Lincoln
Undermining government, the legal definition of sedition, has been the object of aristocracies of both heredity and finance since the inception and will always be the tendency of capital.
"History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments."
-- James Madison
Merchant princes and hereditary aristocrats are only a paper tiger. We, the people have the real and lasting power if we but exercise it.
From: Winning Progressive, Chicago, IL
It is disappointing that President Obama has not done more to reform our electoral system that has been broken by a flood of campaign cash.
But the big problems here is that the GOP won't allow for the type of policy changes needed to for we the people to be able to reclaim our democracy. Instead, they are too busy finding ways to add to the flood, with the five conservative activists on the Supreme Court dismantling the ability to enact any sensible campaign finance regulations. So long as policy change is halted, it is a little difficult to expect the Democrats to unilaterally disarm.
The solution here, of course, is to enact publicly financed campaigns so that we can put an end to the system of legalized bribery we have now, and so that we can free our elected officials and political candidates from having to spend so much of their time and energy focused on raising money rather than on figuring out how to address problems faced by everyday Americans. And the only way we will achieve publicly financed campaigns is for a large majority of the American public to demand it and to consistently vote in each campaign for the candidate most supportive of reforming our campaign finance system. And in the vast majority of cases, that candidate will be the Democrat who, while far from perfect, are typically are not actively trying to sell our democracy like the GOP is.