Honors Capstone Project
Date of Submission
Dr. Steven Brechin
Dr. Joan Mandle
Arts and Science
Capstone Prize Winner
Won Capstone Funding
Civic and Community Engagement | Politics and Social Change | Sociology
In this paper, I contend that the skyrocketing influence of money from wealthy individuals and special interest groups has thwarted accountable policymaking and disengaged the average American voter from civic life. This is a pressing concern for a participatory system of government, which relies on its citizens to contribute to lawmaking and the selection of its officeholders.
I begin by outlining how civic engagement has been the bedrock of American democracy.
Then, I proceed by asserting that the rise of the corporate state has sparked the downfall of a representative political structure that is accessible and responsive to all voters.
Thereafter, I argue that the growing role of corporate money in politics has only magnified this political flaw, leading to public disenchantment and lack of political participation. I maintain that today, those who can financially contribute to election campaigns not only sway their results but indebt officeholders – a luxury few of the American public can afford.
In conclusion, I propose that an effective method for boosting civic involvement and restoring faith in American democracy is campaign finance reform, through which elections would become publicly financed. This would strengthen a participatory political framework, in which elected officials would be beholden to their constituents, rather than to affluent campaign donors. In turn, American citizens would be granted a louder political voice.
Levin, Christina, "Reviving American Democracy: Fueling Civic Engagement Through Campaign Finance Reform" (2012). Syracuse University Honors Program Capstone Projects. 183.
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