By Marvin Zonis

Many Americans believe their votes do not make a difference

October 6, 2020 - 23:6

Money has become the decisive issue in U.S. elections — to buy ads, especially on TV. But what has happened this year is that both major parties have been able to raise significant funds to advertise their candidates.

The evil part of all this is that candidates “owe” the donors who have supported their campaigns so that wealthy donors have inordinate influence on legislation. Public financing of elections would be a crucial step to greater democracy in the U.S.

The two major parties have firm control over the election mechanisms and can effectively shut out smaller parties — so the U.S. is effectively run by a “DUOPOLY OF POWER: — The Democratic and Republican parties. 

Many American voters believe their votes do not make a difference or otherwise are satisfied with the way things are in the U.S. and figure they will just continue as they have been — a very dangerous attitude.

An organization that has lost immense influence in the United States as the American Jewish community has split over Israeli policy towards the Palestinians and withdrawn their support for AIPAC — new organizations have arisen — such as J Street — which represents a more enlightened view of Israel.

I believe upcoming election is likely to be a more democratic election than previous U.S. elections because voter interest is so high and minorities, especially, are demanding and receiving the right to vote — in person or by mail ballot.

Marvin Zonis is professor emeritus at the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago

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