Money seems to trump everything in elections

By Paul Sassone

Paul Sassone

I get the feeling we may be witnessing the end of an election system that goes back more than 2,000 years.

Election to public office in the ancient Roman republic was defined by the cursus honorum, or course of offices. Candidates would launch their career by seeking a lesser office. They would subsequently seek

election to more important offices. For the very ambitious the ultimate goal was to be elected consul, one of two top officials.

We have a similar course of offices today. Would-be politicians seek election to local or municipal government. Then, perhaps, a term or two in the state legislature. A very few become governor or senator.

Then, of course, there is every politician’s dream — president.

The course of offices system is a good one. It gives politicians experience in the art and science of government and governing.

Such experience used to be the most important asset a candidate could have.

Enter money.

Money always has been vital in politics. But lately, vast quantities of money seem to trump everything else in elections.

The result can be seen in the current governor of Illinois and — even more damaging — in the present president of the United States. Both of these men have zero political experience and expertise. They can, and are, doing damage.

Is this to be the fate of higher office, to be bought by billionaires?

I hope not.

Except there is serious talk of Oprah Winfrey running for president.

This is not hopeful.


Money seems to trump everything in elections–