Last week, I laid out several reasons why those in office tend to stay in office. From gerrymandering to war chests, the game is already rigged. Today, I want to show you some of the ways that this rigging allows for the worst possible outcomes in politics, where the common voice is all but stifled by special interests.

Have you ever voted in an election with confidence that your candidate was clearly the best choice, just to find out that they lost to the sleazy insider? Congratulations, you are what I like to call an “informed voter”. Most likely, the opposition had his pockets filled with special interest money that allowed for superior exposure. The average voter doesn’t necessarily spend a great deal of time researching the platform of all the candidates running for an office. Typically, elections are decided on one or two key issues, and the truth doesn’t need to get in the way of a successful campaign strategy.

Since incumbents keep their offices an overwhelming majority of the time, we get away from the idea of a public servant statesman, and we instead revert back to the monarchy and his bureaucracy. Accountability goes down the longer a public servant stays in office. The elected official tends to see his constituents less as those they are beholden to, and more as a group that needs to be appeased while continuing the agenda that pays for the next election. You and I are seen as the obstacle. Special interests are the goal.

The voice of the voter suffers the most pathetic death in all this. With the ability of Super PACs to influence elections, the average campaign contributor might as well keep his money. Just a quick look at the financials of Hillary vs Bernie in 2016 should make the average campaign donor put away his wallet. Huge special interests are the way to win elections, and grass-roots campaigns might as well quit early. The American voter has very little say amongst the huge corporate donors and lobbyists. 

The next logical step in this game is voter apathy. Why would anyone bother to vote if their choice will just be drowned out by corporate dollars? The last time I picked a winner was in 2012 with Ted Cruz. Was he better than his opponent, Dewhurst? Yeah, I still think so. Did he live up to his Tea Party, low taxes, liberty-leaning hype…I don’t think so. He looks more and more like John Cornyn with every vote, and Cornyn is the DC swamp. I apologize to Texas for making that mistake.

So today, I am proud to back a bunch of losers. Losers in elections, that is. I still feel the Libertarian Party consistently puts forth the best candidates for the job. To me, this is more than picking leadership. This is choosing a clear path forward. I want that path to be open to all directions, not only left or right. 

As I sign off, I highly recommend that every voter be an informed voter. Don’t go off glitzy commercials or carefully worded radio ads. Learn about ALL the options. The world is not black and white. YOU hold the key that can decide the fate of your city, county, state, or nation. YOU have more power than you can imagine. Be skeptical. Be informed. Be represented. Peace and Love!  

Darren Pollok is the Secretary of the Libertarian Party of Guadalupe County.

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