Campaign finance reform? They have an app for that. The Bernie Sanders App.
Or they should.
Bernie & Finance Reform
I have already mentioned that Bernie could be more powerful than the President. I also noted that, while Hillary may or may not be correct that Senator Sanders is a one-issue candidate, his #1 issue is arguably the largest threat to our country, and even to the world: it is becoming increasingly obvious that government responds to donors, not citizens.
So how might Bernie implement campaign finance reform, without being President? How might he push through such reform, when it’s something that probably no elected official could hope accomplish?
And finally: How might Bernie implement campaign finance reform without even introducing a bill to Congress?
It’s important to remember that Bernie’s not a Democrat; he’s an independent. So he is not bound by a particular platform or ideology. He also has this huge following that he could grow dramatically, if he could pull supporters from all parties and ideologies. Which is important: people on all sides want big money out of politics.
A Major Problem with Campaign Finance Reform
With that, there is a pivotal but largely unrecognized problem in Bernie’s drive to restore power to the people. If the government doesn’t respond to voters, then how are we voters to reclaim our power by going through the government?
Because being President isn’t enough. It would take a revolution in all three branches of government. I personally don’t think Bernie could accomplish it from within the system, not even as President.
So rather than vote with our ballots, we need to vote with our feet.
And our dollars.
Consider a private sector approach for achieving campaign finance reform. I think that is something Senator Sanders and his Berning supporters could do, and Congress, Citizens United, and the Supreme Court be damned.
And because it’s a private sector approach, many conservatives would also back it.
The Bernie Sanders App
Imagine an app for cell phones, the Bernie Sanders App: we scan in a bar code, and it tells us how much the manufacturer donates to political campaigns, when compared to its gross revenues. It also tells us how much manufacturers of comparable products donate.
At first only a few people would change their shopping habits. But a quick drop in sales of just a few points would damage many corporations. And even if the corporation can absorb the losses, the drop could still cost the CEO her job.
So suddenly there is a free market solution to big money in politics. Because once that part of the Bernie Sanders App is up and running, then the corporation’s supply chain would be examined. Maybe the corporation doesn’t contribute to political campaigns, but it buys from suppliers who do. Ding. Now there’s pressure against suppliers and producers who aren’t on the shelves, but who meddle in elections.
After that, it would also factor in private mega-donors, looking at how they make their money, what companies they own(ed) or work(ed) for, what boards they sit on, and what stocks they hold in large numbers. Those are dings against all of those companies. When their sales drop, his stocks drop, and all of the affected corporations will put pressure on him to stay out of the political arena.
Now, imagine the Bernie Sanders App also had GPS capabilities, and told me how the retailer I was visiting scored in terms of campaign donations. Ding. And it also looked at what brands they favor, and who their wholesalers are. Ding.
After that, the app would look at corporation lobbyists. Ding ding ding.
More Corporate Responsibility
With time, the Bernie Sanders App could add in data on all aspects of corporate responsibility: environmental impact, diversity, maternity leave, work environment. With each expansion of the app, the world gets a little better.
And Bernie could do it all without superdelegate one.
The beauty of this is that it would cost next to nothing. The Open Source community would gladly build and maintain the app; and with Bernie’s leadership, his supporters would provide the research supporting the app, in a Wikipedia-type fashion.
There are some other possibilities, and I will cover those in future posts.