Some might be quick to ask, “why does money in politics even matter?” Politicians take a stand on an issue, and then people who agree donate money. But lately, that’s not how it’s been working. Voters are realizing that, in many cases, it is the money that is shaping the politicians’ stances on issues.
In fact, 72% of voters want both parties to reduce the influence of money in politics. In a hyper-polarized year of 2019, 72% is about as much consensus as is possible!
Some politicians have felt the heat from voters for the contributions they have accepted, especially Beto O’Rourke.
O’Rourke, according to the Goods Unite Us app, has accepted contributions from Exxon Mobil (-84), Royal Dutch Shell (-28), BP (-52), and Chevron (-78), which are all among the most profitable international fossil fuel companies. And as you can see from those scores, they are also heavily involved in influencing elections.
Beto, a former congressman from El Paso, Texas, had defended his choice to accept donations from the fossil fuel industry, as well as from all individuals, citing that his campaign did not want to exclude anyone. However, after weeks of pressure, Beto signed the No Fossil Fuel Money Pledge at the beginning of the month.
Despite one in eight presumable Democratic primary voters supporting O’Rourke in March, he is now only polling around 2-3%. This shows why money in politics is really so important in 2019 – it’s a signal of a candidates’ trustworthiness and accountability to the constituents rather than corporate and big money interests.