In an interview of former President Jimmy Carter by radio host Thom Hartmann on July 28th 2015, as reported by The Intercept, the following statements were made:
HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, “unlimited money in politics.” It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. … Your thoughts on that?
CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.
Even more recently, August 6th, during a brief exchange between Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump and Fox News' Brett Baier, as reported by Mike Whitney at CounterPunch, the following took place:
TRUMP: As far as single payer, it works in Canada. It works incredibly well in Scotland. It could have worked in a different age, which is the age you’re talking about here.
What I’d like to see is a private system without the artificial lines around every state. I have a big company with thousands and thousands of employees. And if I’m negotiating in New York or in New Jersey or in California, I have like one bidder. Nobody can bid.
You know why?
Because the insurance companies are making a fortune because they have control of the politicians, of course, with the exception of the politicians on this stage. (uneasy laughter) But they have total control of the politicians. They’re making a fortune.
Get rid of the artificial lines and you will have…yourself great plans…
BAIER: Mr. Trump, it’s not just your past support for single-payer health care. You’ve also supported a host of other liberal policies….You’ve also donated to several Democratic candidates, Hillary Clinton included, and Nancy Pelosi. You explained away those donations saying you did that to get business-related favors. And you said recently, quote, “When you give, they do whatever the hell you want them to do.”
TRUMP: You’d better believe it.
BAIER: — they do?
TRUMP: If I ask them, if I need them, you know, most of the people on this stage I’ve given to, just so you understand, a lot of money.
TRUMP: I will tell you that our system is broken. I gave to many people, before this, before two months ago, I was a businessman. I give to everybody. When they call, I give. And do you know what? When I need something from them two years later, three years later, I call them, they are there for me. And that’s a broken system.
I am confident that Jimmy Carter and Donald Trump do not agree on most things, but on the topic of widespread corruption of politicians in government, they corroborate each other. I'm inclined to believe them – after all they should know. And there is certainly a lot of money pointed in that direction. Furthermore, it is doubtful that this corruption is confined to Republicans.
OK then, what are we going to do about it? The task seems overwhelming. I believe many Democrats are willing to play the game working within the status-quo in the hope of winning smaller battles. But, as we have seen with the passage of fast-track for the TPP, overall this is a losing game. Certainly we can vote for Bernie Sanders, who seems immune to corruption. We also have Elizabeth Warren in the Senate... I seem to be running out of names. The system may be so broken that a top-down approach by itself is not likely to fix much.
Bernie Sanders has stated that we need something revolutionary. First, to control corporate corruption of our democracy we must have a politics that emphasizes ethics. But even more importantly, we have to engage people in a new American Dream – and develop an ethos that emphasizes community and the common good, while deemphasizing monied wealth. For democratic progress our politicians must strive to reform capital structures to support democratic goals. We need for this to happen, and the obvious way forward is to support Bernie Sanders for President at the top and work locally in our communities to further democratic change. As I see it now is the opportune moment, and taking such action is what being a good democrat and good citizen is all about.