Starting a discussion on voter, civic issues
August 1, 2021 | View PDF
Seniors are known nationally for being “super voters”. But many voters find it challenging to understand and evaluate the issues and candidates. Hence this series has been created to dive into civic issues to help our Alaskan seniors, friends and families become more familiar with some issues that should be considered when casting a vote.
In this series, we will start by focusing on campaign finance. In the next few columns, we will identify some of the problems that currently exist in our political system, provide history about how these problems arose, and review current solutions being proposed. We will review some of the ongoing efforts happening in Alaska and talk about why many believe a new amendment is now necessary in order to further the perfection of our democratic system of government.
What is the problem with our current financing of political campaigns? It is clear that more and more money is being spent to influence elections. Voters are being overwhelmed with phone calls, emails, radio and TV ads and flyers. Is this creating better information for the average voter? Surveys taken nationwide and locally tell us that they are not. Just think if these millions of dollars could be used to solve issues, build roads, improve education.
So how did we get here? There are a couple of legal doctrines that have allowed a small number of very powerful individuals and entities to override the preferences of large percentages of our citizens. These legal doctrines have been created over time by the United States Supreme Court. We will discuss these doctrines later in this series.
Why should this matter to seniors? The political interests of some of the most influential economic interests are not in alignment with the interests of most seniors. Some of them want to privatize the Social Security program, Medicare and Medicaid. Some want to reduce government protections against financial fraud, toxic pollutants, or unsafe consumer products.
Some economic interests seek to greatly reduce or eliminate school lunches, childcare and even free public education. Many of these interests have successfully acted to greatly reduce their own taxes, while increasing the taxes that must be paid by individuals. We will discuss how seniors and the people they love have been harmed by these doctrines.
Because these problems have been created by the Supreme Court as constitutional doctrine, they can only be reversed by the Supreme Court, or by a constitutional amendment that overrides the Supreme Court. The remainder of this series will provide you with the information you need to understand these issues.
Beverly Churchill is a member of Alaska Move to Amend, whose mission includes educating Alaskans on constitutional issues regarding personhood and money as a form of free speech.