The influence of money in Washington, D.C., is the root cause of “severe divisions” in the U.S. political system and American society, a Chinese government-organized human rights think tank said in a report Thursday.
In its analysis, titled “Money Politics Exposes the Hypocrisy of ‘U.S.-Style Democracy,'” the China Society for Human Rights Studies asserts that pervasive influence peddling by the wealthy in the United States has resulted in the decline of “common people’s influence on politics.”
The Chinese academics cite the great costs required to stage a political campaign in the United States and a rise of “dark money” contributions to both major U.S. political parties as signs that “money politics has ruthlessly crushed” American democracy.
“Since the beginning of the 21st century, the election costs of the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates have increased rapidly from $700 million in 2004 to $1 billion in 2008 and $2 billion in 2012,” the authors wrote. “In 2016, U.S. elections, including presidential and congressional elections, cost a total of $6.6 billion, making it the most expensive political election in U.S. history.”
The group argues the situation is an “inevitable result” of capitalism, as the costly process virtually eliminates potential candidates from the “bottom of society” — while the wealthy are allowed to carefully select their representatives by funding their campaigns.
The China Society for Human Rights Studies describes itself as the nation’s “largest non-governmental organization in the field of human rights” and says it represents China’s human rights positions in international forums like the United Nations.