In 2011, I began delving into research on the detrimental effects of money on politics, particularly in the wake of the 2010 Citizens United ruling and its implications for US democracy.
This image is based on a CSPAN interview from June 11, 1987, featuring Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. I aimed to capture his likeness and body language faithfully, maintaining a realistic portrayal.
During the interview, McConnell argued that limiting political spending or imposing restrictions on who can spend infringes upon the First Amendment. Over the course of 33 years, McConnell has risen to become the Senate Majority Leader, and his advocacy for money’s influence on political elections has only grown stronger. He has famously stated that “cash on hand” are the three most important words in politics.
While I recognize the importance of free speech, I also see the potential for unfair advantages when wealth is used to influence political candidates, which could lead to the transformation of democracy into an oligarchy where a privileged few hold sway over all. As an example, in 2020, a billionaire from China could indirectly support a US candidate by anonymously contributing unlimited funds to a Super PAC, simply by disguising their identity on Federal Election Commission filings.
One potential solution that I support, proposed by Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, is the implementation of a $5 democracy voucher per voter. This system aims to reduce political reliance on large funders and foster a more equitable democratic process.