Years ago, I ran a campaign to elect a state representative and the cost was borne almost entirely by the candidate, who had moderate means, and he received about $20,000 from the party.
That same post today might go for hundreds of thousands of dollars, even a million - far more than the job's pay, and likely even more than one could collect with modest bribes received and saved for the elected term.
The result is that now candidates are bought before they even take office, not by bribes to pass legislation, but by legal contributions of immense sums that are the only path to election - a path strewn with television ads in a media that seldom condemns unlimited electioneering spending.
The result: only folks who take the money in advance are elected. We no longer have to wonder if our officials will be crooks after they take office.
Anyone bought by donors with money will rarely oppose the path to their next election. It's "Upstairs, Downstairs" without a benevolent upper class, just a greedy class demanding austerity for the public and gluttony for themselves. What else explains their insane urges to destroy Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and public schools, prisons and parks?
Campaign finance reform? Did voters think this would occur under the current WH leadership, and so they refused to vote for a John McCain, who championed that fundamental first step in government reform? (McCain had this one great virtue.)
Or did the Wall Street geniuses slickly decide to support a Democratic Party candidate with their money and cut much support to that GOP nominee - a Republican candidate who would have fought to reduce their campaign finance influence with politicians.
What is the likelihood of honest folks in office, making budget decisions to benefit the public, not their (financial) supporters? It seems a thin hope, when you imagine thousands of lobbyists in D.C., tossing coins and corrupting, a modern version of the moneylenders Christ tossed from the Temple in exasperation?