Congressional Campaign Cash Seating Chart

What if members of Congress were seated not by party but according to their major business sponsors? (It would probably be a more accurate representation of whose agenda they’re representing than just splitting them into Democrat/Republican/Independent.) Mother Jones went ahead and did it. Looks like the Senate is on FIRE (finance, insurance, and real estate, that is)!

chart-500x289

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  • Liam_McGonagle

    Yeah, that is interesting.

    I’ve recently heard one fellow on the radio propose to change the campaign finance law to what it had been, say before 1960, where individual candidates were forbidden to accept donations themselves, but instead the parties would go out and do the fund raising.

    The supposed benefits are that:

    1. Legislators spend more time focusing on leglislation

    2. It reduces corps’ ability to run ‘divide and conquer’ strategies on individual legislators

    At first glance that seems like a real good idea to me–separate the legislative and electoral funding functions, reduce potential for conflicts of interest.

    But there’s a trade off to everything, I suppose. Wouldn’t that also mean increased power of the party establishment? Might we see a return to the old ‘ward-style’ pols and the deal cutting in smokey back rooms at conventions, instead of the no-surprise-to-anyone nomination-by-television dynamic we’re all sick of now?

    Still thinking about it, but I think the return to the old finance structure has lots of appeal.

    • Hadrian999

      don’t like it, vote your conscience and the party cuts you off next election,
      I don’t think we really want to see that, or how it would cripple any efforts of independents or small 3rd parties that cant extort payoffs like the big boys.

      • Liam_McGonagle

        True, there was the possibility for that type of thing to happen under the old system. Some people say that’s what hampered Teddy Roosevelt’s early political career–he was just a bit too ‘enthusiastic’ for Mark Hannah and the boys at GOP central to ‘count on’. It’s only the flukey happenstance of McKinley getting offed that put Teddy in the big seat.

        But I really wonder about the efficacy of third parties. Even in parliamentary systems, where majority coalitions with third parties are commonplace and crucial to filling the chief executive role, the track record is none too awesome. I don’t think Britain is a helluva lot better off than we are, and God help the Irish; Eire has faired pretty poorly under a coalition with the Greens.

        More and more I begin to think that the public at large simply haven’t got the attention span to really support more than two really distinguishable parties. From time to time you do see a third party candidate take a parliamentary majority–but very rarely and never on a long-term basis. I’m not sure it’s possible to say that they have a more than negligible influence.

        Maybe your political critique is a bit mature, Hadrian. I think people just can’t or won’t bother themselves with nuance.

        Maybe those structuralist philosophers was onto something with their “binary oppositions” postulate; the notion that concepts, at least cognitively, are primarily defined by reference to a theoretical opposite.

        In any case, I cannot imagine a system that doesn’t result in some gamesmanship. Even the most extreme measures possible–banning all contributions altogether and instituting required public funding–would have unintended consequences. Then they’d have to institute a new tax to support it, and there would have to be some government-run mechanism to dole out the $$. Shit, that might be the worst possible scenario.

        I think we can agree on one short-term measure, though: Over-rule the recent ‘Citizens United’ decision.

        • Hadrian999

          2 party systems are too easy to control as it is i don’t want them entrenched anymore.
          in a 2 party system all you need to do is create conflict with a few meaningless but emotional issues
          and bingo you have the masses believing they are making a choice when in reality it’s just a shell game.
          I am totally against any measure to make it easier on them, i would rather nobody be able to get anything done than the totally corporate owned system we have now

          • Liam_McGonagle

            But doesn’t having nothing get done mean that the do corps win? If there is no other institution in place to challenge them, won’t they win simply win by virtue of having the money to dole out to you and me in terms of patronage?

          • Hadrian999

            no one does challenge them

          • Barry_Soetoro

            Bam, right on man.

          • Ironaddict06

            Bam, Bam, Bam again.
            Yes, there has to be a 3rd party, no matter what the party stands for. It can be Communist States of America or the Puritans of America as long as there is another party to use as a measuring stick comparted to the 2 other parties.

    • Liam_McGonagle

      OOPTh–new brewser. Me no likey! Thought I was hitting ‘like’ for Hadrian’s bit.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    Yeah, that is interesting.

    I’ve recently heard one fellow on the radio propose to change the campaign finance law to what it had been, say before 1960, where individual candidates were forbidden to accept donations themselves, but instead the parties would go out and do the fund raising.

    The supposed benefits are that:

    1. Legislators spend more time focusing on leglislation

    2. It reduces corps’ ability to run ‘divide and conquer’ strategies on individual legislators

    At first glance that seems like a real good idea to me–separate the legislative and electoral funding functions, reduce potential for conflicts of interest.

    But there’s a trade off to everything, I suppose. Wouldn’t that also mean increased power of the party establishment? Might we see a return to the old ‘ward-style’ pols and the deal cutting in smokey back rooms at conventions, instead of the no-surprise-to-anyone nomination-by-television dynamic we’re all sick of now?

    Still thinking about it, but I think the return to the old finance structure has lots of appeal.

  • Hadrian999

    don’t like it, vote your conscience and the party cuts you off next election,
    I don’t think we really want to see that, or how it would cripple any efforts of independents or small 3rd parties that cant extort payoffs like the big boys.

  • Liam_McGonagle

    True, there was the possibility for that type of thing to happen under the old system. Some people say that’s what hampered Teddy Roosevelt’s early political career–he was just a bit too ‘enthusiastic’ for Mark Hannah and the boys at GOP central to ‘count on’. It’s only the flukey happenstance of McKinley getting offed that put Teddy in the big seat.

    But I really wonder about the efficacy of third parties. Even in parliamentary systems, where majority coalitions with third parties are commonplace and crucial to filling the chief executive role, the track record is none too awesome. I don’t think Britain is a helluva lot better off than we are, and God help the Irish; Eire has faired pretty poorly under a coalition with the Greens.

    More and more I begin to think that the public at large simply haven’t got the attention span to really support more than two really distinguishable parties. From time to time you do see a third party candidate take a parliamentary majority–but very rarely and never on a long-term basis. I’m not sure it’s possible to say that they have a more than negligible influence.

    Maybe your political critique is a bit mature, Hadrian. I think people just can’t or won’t bother themselves with nuance.

    Maybe those structuralist philosophers was onto something with their “binary oppositions” postulate; the notion that concepts, at least cognitively, are primarily defined by reference to a theoretical opposite.

    In any case, I cannot imagine a system that doesn’t result in some gamesmanship. Even the most extreme measures possible–banning all contributions altogether and instituting required public funding–would have unintended consequences. Then they’d have to institute a new tax to support it, and there would have to be some government-run mechanism to dole out the $$. Shit, that might be the worst possible scenario.

    I think we can agree on one short-term measure, though: Over-rule the recent ‘Citizens United’ decision.

  • Anonymous

    OOPTh–new brewser. Me no likey! Thought I was hitting ‘like’ for Hadrian’s bit.

  • Hadrian999

    2 party systems are too easy to control as it is i don’t want them entrenched anymore.
    in a 2 party system all you need to do is create conflict with a few meaningless but emotional issues
    and bingo you have the masses believing they are making a choice when in reality it’s just a shell game.
    I am totally against any measure to make it easier on them, i would rather nobody be able to get anything done than the totally corporate owned system we have now

  • Anonymous

    But doesn’t having nothing get done mean that the do corps win? If there is no other institution in place to challenge them, won’t they win simply win by virtue of having the money to dole out to you and me in terms of patronage?

  • Hadrian999

    no one does challenge them

  • Barry_Soetoro

    Bam, right on man.

  • Ironaddict06

    Bam, Bam, Bam again.
    Yes, there has to be a 3rd party, no matter what the party stands for. It can be Communist States of America or the Puritans of America as long as there is another party to use as a measuring stick comparted to the 2 other parties.

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