Mitt Romney has been raking in bundles of cash, turning the Obama campaign into an equally enormous bundle of nerves.
June’s fundraising reports depicting the Romney campaign out-raising President Obama by a margin of $35 dollars has left the president sounding anxious, and frankly, desperate for cash — telling his campaign donors, “I’m asking you to meet or exceed what you did in 2008 … Because the special interests that are financing my opponent’s campaign are just going to consolidate themselves. They’re gonna run Congress and the White House,” The Daily Beast reported.
The special interests the president references in his plea to supporters highlights the influence of super PACs — whose fundraising efforts are not included in the recently released reports — an area where Republicans and the Romney campaign have the edge.
Yet, all of this emphasis on the green in the political arena has some college students seeing red.
Reports by Politico detailing an aggressive $400 million spending campaign by the Koch brothers in support of Romney as well as the president’s noticeable fear regarding his significant financial shortcomings raise concerns about money’s increased role in politics, but more importantly, about where the general populace factors into the equation.
“I think in many ways that money is getting in the way of the democratic process,” said Kevin Towler, 19, a sophomore chemistry major at Iona College. “It seems to be a disproportionate amount of power to a disproportionate amount of people. The amount of money spent in politics really offsets the will of the public.”
Like Towler, Noelle Wright a 21-year-old senior communications major at Bethany College, said she is discouraged by the increased role money and super PACs are to play in this election.
“I have mixed feelings about the use of money in politics,” she said. “On the one hand, I don’t think it’s right to tell someone with money that they can’t use it to influence the political system, but on the other hand, it’s discouraging to me to think that you have to have a lot of money or be a large corporation to have a voice.”
Wright’s primary concern regarding campaign finance rests with her peers, noting that the important youth constituency isn’t as mobilized as it was in 2008 — playing a large role in Obama’s victory over Sen. John McCain. Perhaps the apathy amongst young people is due to disillusionment with both candidates, she said, but they might believe that big money has rendered the voices of poor college students obsolete.
In spite of her concerns, Wright said she believes the new age of the super PAC can also mean the revitalization of grassroots movements — especially on college campuses.
“The increased money in politics gives [college students] a responsibility to answer large campaign contributions and super PACs in our own way,” she said. “At the end of the day, one person’s voice isn’t going to be heard, but if we have freedom of speech contributing with our wallet, then we can make just as much of an impact by organizing with a group of people to make a difference in the election.”
Will Wright’s idea of grassroots campaigns be able to mobilize and elect a president? Or will super PACs and post-Citizen United money decide the election this November?
Only time will tell.
Powered by Facebook Comments