As long as there has been voting, there has been vote buying. This is nothing new. Tacit efforts have been made to put an end to it but have done little to no good.
It is similar to America’s fight against poverty. We have spent trillions on Head Start programs, after school programs, free and reduced price school lunches, welfare, food stamps, public housing, SNAP, WIC and on and on but poverty is worse now than it has ever been.
The same can be said for the war on drugs. Various measures have been used, harsh laws put in place and more trillions spent but illegal drugs are more readily available now than ever before.
The wars on poverty and drugs are not winnable and the same is true of ridding the system of vote buying.
However, vote buying has gotten much more sophisticated than the old ‘ride to the polls’ gimmick in which votes were bought on the ride to the polls with the promise of cash and/or alcohol on the ride back home that was common back in the day.
There are huge chunks of ARPA funds out there that are supposedly for use in the fight against COVID that have been subverted to vote buying schemes. When you see sums of cash from these and similar funds earmarked for distribution to those at or below a certain income level, that is a vote buying technique disguised as stimulus.
To his credit, Gov. Brian Kemp suspended Georgia’s gas tax earlier this year when Biden administration policies sent fuel prices skyrocketing. Last week, though gas prices have begun to drop, Kemp extended the suspension until, you guessed it, after the November election.
His opponent, Stacey Abrams, is just as guilty. She espoused extending the gas tax break until the end of the year.
Abrams’ campaign is tainted by money questions. When she started her quest for the governor’s office prior to the 2018 election, she was dead broke and deep in debt. Now, she is a millionaire. That money did not come from sales of her ‘romance novels’. Much of that cash likely came with strings attached and favors owed.
All candidates accept such contributions. It is nothing new. It is inherent in the system and always be.
No campaign finance law has ever stopped it and none will.
With faith in his abilities and cognizance at an all time low, President Biden just proposed the biggest vote buying scheme in American history with his plan to ‘forgive’ student loans.
That move may buy the votes of the indebted but it may also cost him the votes of those who worked hard to pay back their student loans. I have yet to hear the president address that elephant in the room. There is really no good argument to present to those who paid their debts.
Politics is a nasty business and it is getting nastier as it gets more and more partisan.
And, sadly, there is nothing that can be done to change it.