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VoteDown News Feed

scales

What is VoteDown?

Chris S.

VoteDown is a dream of an American Democracy where Congress actually listens to the people they represent.

After so many years of Congress ignoring average American voices, having them kow tow to Dark Money Special Interests, while distracting the populace with Bread and Circus, it does feel like we have to dream to get something so basic as actual representative democracy. The simple goal of giving citizens a voice in their democracy almost seems out of reach in the day and age of excessive gerrymandering, legalized bribery, and social media manipulations.

We aim to fix that by letting people pool their resources together and use those resources to punish Representatives and Senators when they ignore the will of their voters. By acting together and concentrating on the simple goal of listening to constituents, we can drive a change in behavior. No more will Congress fear the NRA or other Special Interests - instead they will fear crossing their own citizens and incurring the wrath of the people.

Balancing The Scales

The Disconnect Between Popular Ideas and Congressional Actions: The Influence of Dark Money

Chris S.

In today's politically charged climate, a significant gap exists between the will of the American people and the actions of Congress. This discrepancy raises questions about the influence of dark money in politics and its role in shaping legislative priorities. Despite popular support for various policies, Congress often appears to align more closely with the interests of powerful, anonymous donors. This article delves into the stark contrast between public opinion and congressional actions, supported by recent statistics and studies.

Popular Ideas vs. Congressional Actions


Numerous polls reveal widespread public support for policies that Congress has failed to enact. For instance, a 2023 Pew Research Center survey found that 67% of Americans favor stricter gun control laws, yet significant legislative progress on this issue remains elusive. Similarly, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication reports that 72% of Americans believe in the need for action on climate change, yet comprehensive climate legislation faces significant hurdles in Congress.

Healthcare reform is another area where public opinion and congressional actions diverge. According to a 2022 Gallup poll, 58% of Americans support the idea of a public healthcare option. However, legislative efforts to expand healthcare access have been stymied by intense lobbying from private healthcare interests.

The Role of Dark Money


Dark money refers to political spending by nonprofit organizations that are not required to disclose their donors. This lack of transparency allows wealthy individuals and corporations to exert significant influence over the political process without public accountability. A 2023 report by the Center for Responsive Politics found that dark money groups spent over $1 billion on the 2022 midterm elections, highlighting the magnitude of their influence.

One of the most striking examples of dark money's impact is the issue of campaign finance reform itself. Despite 77% of Americans supporting measures to reduce the influence of money in politics, according to a 2022 Ipsos poll, legislative efforts to address this issue have been largely unsuccessful. This resistance can be attributed to the vested interests of those who benefit from the current system.

Case Studies and Recent Statistics


Several recent studies illustrate the pervasive influence of dark money on congressional actions:

1. Healthcare: A 2023 study by the National Bureau of Economic Research found that pharmaceutical companies and healthcare providers spent over $500 million in lobbying efforts to block Medicare-for-All proposals. This spending directly correlates with the lack of legislative progress despite public support.

2. Climate Change: The Environmental Defense Fund reported in 2023 that fossil fuel companies spent $200 million in dark money to influence congressional decisions on climate policy. This spending has contributed to the slow pace of legislative action on climate change, despite public urgency.

3. Gun Control: The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence highlighted in a 2022 report that gun rights groups, including the NRA, funneled $100 million in dark money to oppose gun control measures. This influx of funds has played a significant role in the stagnation of gun control legislation.

Conclusion


The disconnect between popular ideas and congressional actions is a growing concern in American politics. The influence of dark money creates a barrier between the will of the people and the decisions made by their elected representatives. Addressing this issue requires increased transparency and accountability in political spending, ensuring that the voices of ordinary citizens are not drowned out by the financial power of a few. As public awareness of this issue grows, so does the potential for meaningful reform that realigns congressional actions with the interests and desires of the American people.
George Santos

"Throw The Bums Out" doesn't work

Chris S

The core message around every election season is that we need to MOBILIZE MOBILIZE MOBILIZE, because we need to throw out the bums who are representing us and replace them with someone new. Then, someone new comes in, and, unsurprisingly, they prove to be just as corrupt and shady as the last person. Or, in the case of George Santos, far far more corrupt. So, we throw him out and replace him. Rinse. Repeat.


This "strategy" just leads to the endless cycle of excitement at the new candidate, followed by years of disappointment as they fail to deliver on even a single promise they made to you when they were campaigning. And, what can you do about it? Nothing. You can write letters, call, protest. But, those get ignored, so...Nothing


The fact is that the people going to Washington are not the problem (well, maybe Santos was). The system in Washington is the issue. Good people who try to do the right thing get chewed up and spit out and bad actors rake in cash from Dark Money that let them stay forever. THAT is what we need to battle against - the broken campaign finance system.


I know, I know, you've heard this before - get the money out of politics. blah. blah. blah.



Sounds great, but goes nowhere, right?


We are taking a different tack. Rather than trying to change the rules (which doesn't work), let's use this broken system and beat them at their own game. Let's use the crowdfunding power of the American people to counter the influence of Special Interests. Let's make the representatives scared to take those bribes, because they worry that we will hit against them with even more.


Let's break the horrible cycle and bring the people back into the democratic process.


Santos tried to run again in 2024, but had to stop when he had no money. Imagine how much pressure other representatives will feel when they have negative cash raised for their campaigns - when the VoteDown amounts donated against them are more than the amounts they are able to raise for themselves. Think about how hard they will work for you to avoid that happening.

That is the dream we are working for. That is the dream we will achieve.

A Majority of Americans See Congress as Out Of Touch and Corrupt

Chris S

In the bustling corridors of social and political discussions, there's an echoing sentiment that seems to resonate louder each passing day. It's the perception held by a large swath of the American populace: the belief that their representatives in Congress are less in touch with the daily realities of ordinary citizens and veering towards a path marked by corruption and disconnect. This article dives deep into this prevailing viewpoint, exploring its roots, ramifications, and what it might mean for the future of American democracy.

Understanding the Sentiment


Why do so many Americans feel trapped from those elected to represent them? It's not a question of mere cynicism but rather a reflection of broader societal and political transformations. Let's dissect the causes and implications.

The Roots of Disconnect



1. The Influence of Money in Politics

The overwhelming influence of money in American politics is commonly cited as a primary catalyst for the perceived corruption. The need to fund campaigns leads politicians often to seek financial support from corporations, special interest groups, and wealthy individuals whose interests may not align with those of the broader public.

2. The Echo Chamber Effect

With the rise of targeted media and social media algorithms, citizens and legislators alike find themselves in echo chambers that reinforce existing beliefs and perspectives, minimizing exposure to diverse viewpoints. This phenomenon potentially exacerbates the gap between public expectations and congressional actions.

3. Legislative Stagnation


Another factor could be the apparent legislative stagnation seen in Congress. Critical issues such as healthcare reform, immigration policy, and infrastructure funding witness little to no progress, fueling frustration and furthering the belief of a dysfunctional legislative body.

Symptoms of a Deeper Problem


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