How to change this? Can it be changed?
I believe it can, but the States would have to step in and make some changes.
1) There needs to be a cap on the amount of money that can be spent on a campaign, perhaps that amount should be equal to whatever the mean income is for the State or District the candidate will represent. For example, our Representative here in the 1st Congressional District of California would only be able to spend around $100,000 on his campaign for reelection. Likewise, our Senators could only spend an amount equal to the mean income of an individual living in California (I think it’s around $80,000).
2) Naturally if they can only spend so much, they can also only collect so much. But WHO and WHERE campaign contributions come from is very important. There needs to be a rule that only people and corporations in your district — iow, people actually living and voting in the district, and corporations that are headquartered in the district, only they could contribute to candidates running to represent that district. Likewise, our Senators could only accept donations from people living in California, and from corporations headquartered in California.
Just these two steps, written into law either by legislation by State Assemblies, or by ballot propositions, would drastically alter the makeup of the Senate and House of Representatives. It might even result in the election of a few people who aren’t millionaires for a change.
This simple idea needs to be applied to local and State ballot initiatives as well. “Proposition 8,” which overturned the right for Gay people to marry in California last year, was largely funded by donations from right wing groups from outside of California, and in particular the Mormon Church. The same scenario was played out in Maine this year, when billions of dollars was funded into a campaign to overturn the right of Gay people to marry in Maine; billions of dollars that came from outside the state.
This kind of thing has got to end.