The Leadership Selection Process
There are two things that are important in politics. The first is money and I can't remember what the second one is.
-- U.S. SENATOR MARK HANNA ( 1895)
Ready money is a candidate's best friend.
-- U.S. SENATOR PHIL GRAMM ( 1995)
MONEY DOMINATES THE process of selecting America's political leadership. No one can seriously contend for high public office in the United States without access to big money sources to finance a campaign.
Professional political campaigns, with their heavy reliance on television advertising, are very costly. These high costs force all candidates--Democrats and Republicans, liberals and conservatives--to turn to big money sources to fund their quests for political office. Virtually all candidates for high public office must first appeal to moneyed elites before they can even consider appealing to the voters. The only exceptions are those candidates who themselves have enough money to fund their own campaigns. Elites provide financial support for both political parties, and they often even provide financial support for opposing candidates in the same election, ensuring that elites themselves seldom if ever lose.
The principal source of money for political campaigns in America is the nation's elite--the same corporations, banks, law and investment firms, media conglomerates, and wealthy individuals who dominate the policymaking process. Indeed, their dominance in political campaign finances provides yet another means by which they can ensure that their own preferences and interests are protected by elected office-holders and reflected in public policy.
Serious candidates for elected office in America must begin their "exploratory" efforts by contacting moneyed elites even before they decide to declare themselves as candidates. If aspiring candidates fail to receive credible pledges of financial assistance in advance of opening their campaigns, they are well advised by profes-