This Explainer explores how the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is used in measuring our economic growth and whether alternative measures are also needed to provide a more comprehensive outlook of economic progress.
What do people mean by “money in politics” or “campaign finance reform”? Running for office requires money—for staff, travel, TV ads, etc. In many countries, much of the cost of public elections is paid for by public funds, so the voters control the process and candidates are only accountable to their constituents. But in most places in the U.S., election campaigns are funded only with private money, most of it coming in the form of large checks from wealthy donors.
Both economic and racial justice are core progressive priorities, but too often we discuss them separately. On the contrary, racial and economic harms are intertwined, as are our desired solutions to them. Wealthy elites exploit racial fears to turn working people against each other and government; economic pain increases racial resentment and facilitates scapegoating, fueling support for punitive measures against people of color.
The extent of the money in politics problem, how we got here (from a legal perspective), and what we can do to create a democracy in which the strength of a citizen’s voice does not depend on the size of her wallet.
Our data sets were provided and cleaned by Public Campaign. For the purposes of this report, Public Campaign used federal campaign contribution data made public by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and then refined and augmented by the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).