Lobbying and US Government

There is something interesting in the US Government, which is that there are a certain right/s that are inalienable and cannot be restricted or abridged by any federal legislation. Two of them are that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances. This means that all US citizens may petition their representatives in government, either federal, state, or local. You don’t like the gas tax, you petition your political representative with your grievance. You don’t like the regulations of how to grow manure,  you petition your political representative with your grievance. You don’t like the educational standards, you petition your political representative with your grievance. One person, one vote, one voice.

When the government was first formed, people use to hang outside of the hallway of the legislative building on all levels. They would wait for their politician to come out and would talk to their representative and tell them their grievances. They would do this in the legislative building’s lobby. They would lobby their political representatives with their grievances. But there is a trade off to this. All that time those individuals are spending waiting for their representative in the lobby, they could have been doing something else. For example, the farmer could be harvesting their crop in the time that it takes to travel to and from the capital and waiting on their representative in the lobby. Now to make up for this trade-off of petitioning your political representative with your grievances in the lobby, you could hire another person to take your place. This is basically like how the people of a city elect who will represent them on the city council. A private citizen will pay another individual to spend all that time in the lobby to wait for the representative, and express their clients grievances.

Now you have this one lobby-agent to represent one person, one vote, and one voice. This means that the political representative knows how one voter feels on a certain issue and what that certain voter would think is better. They learn that if they vote a certain way, they will lose a voter when it comes election time. Now say that some legislation is proposed which states that “all people with a brown iris must count blades of grass for 1 hour a day.” Now all the brown eyed people find this law objectionable to their own interests, and each of these brown eyed iris people are one vote each. They all decide to get together, when they find out they have the same grievance with their political representative. They all go down to the legislative together, and they talk to their political representative about what they think of the new legislation and how they want their political representative to vote on the issue. If the political representative does not vote the way that the “brown iris” constituents/voters want, then they will vote him out of office. But like the first individual, this collective of individuals have the trade off of being away from home and work. So they too hire a lobby-agent to do those things for them.

There are a limited number of voters, and an individual is elected by the majority of their peers (town, county, state, or national) to represent their will when meeting with private corporations, other town representatives, other county representatives, other state representatives, or other foreign representatives. These representatives execute either the laws passed or create and vote on passage of laws and regulations. So when these representatives are being lobbied with grievances, they can either do what their constituents want that brought for the grievance or not. Now if the representative wants to keep their role as a representative in government, then they need the majority of votes from their constituents. So if the representative finds out that there are a total of 100 voters in his constituency, and he was lobbied by 51 constituents with the same grievance on the same issue, then he votes the way they want. He gets re-elected as their representative.

Now let us imagine that there are a total of 100 voters and only 60 of them are active voters. These 60 individuals vote regularly and vote on all issues brought up for a vote. Now imagine that there are still 51 constituents who lobby their representative with the same grievance on the same issue. The representative knows that out of all the total voters, a certain number are active voters and these individuals lobbying them are part of those active voters. So the representative will vote the way they want if they want to get re-elected.  But now imagine the same situation, but only 20 people lobby their representative, and only 60 active voters out of a total of 100 voters. The representative will not vote the way that they want and won’t get re-elected.

Now some individuals will pay money to a representatives, or candidate for representation, campaign fore election or re-election. Say you have representative x (Rep. X). Rep. X holds to the principle that “no people with a brown iris must count blades of grass for 1 hour a day”. So Rep. X’s potential constituents know where they stand on that issue, and will either have a potential grievance with that representative or won’t. Those who like the stance that the Rep. X takes on that issue will finance their campaign. Those individuals who do not like the stance of Rep. X on that issue will either not finance their camping or will finance the campaign of Rep. X’s  opponent/s.  Any voter, whether actual or potential, can contribute their own money to the campaign of Rep. X or not. They have the choice of either supporting the campaign of Rep. X or not supporting the campaign of Rep. X. But there is one thing that never changes, no matter how much money these individuals give to the election campaign of a representative or potential representative, which is that they are limited in number of votes.

Go back to the example where there are 100 voters and 51 individuals who have a grievance on the issue of “all people with a brown iris must count blades of grass for 1 hour a day.” These people donate a certain amount of money to the campaign of Rep. X. Rep. X wins the office and votes the way that individuals wanted. Now say that there is the same total of voters and only 60 active voters. That group of 51 people will still finance Rep. X and win. Rep. X votes the way the majority of the constituents want. The reason Rep. X keeps winning is not the amount of money being donated the their campaign, it is because there is a voting base that meets the necessary number of votes to win the election, i.e. majority of votes cast. Rep. X will win the election whether they have $0 dollars contributed to their campaign election or had $1,000,000,000,000 dollars contributed to their campaign election. 51 voices, 51 votes.

Now let us keep up with the previous, but this time we have 100 total voters, and 60 active voters. Now say there are 12 individuals who all support the legislation that “all people with a brown iris must count blades of grass for 1 hour a day.” They lobby Rep. X with their grievances and tell them that they will not vote for Rep. X is they do not vote yes for the legislation. Now Rep. X can ignore these people if they find out that 48 of active voters do not support the legislation and want them to vote no on it. The “Blade counting” group could donate $1,000,000,000,000 dollars to Rep. X’s campaign if he was in favor of voting yes on the legislation, or they could donate that money to an opponent of Rep.Y, who does agree with the group about voting yes on the legislation. So $1,000,000,000,000 are giving to Rep. Y, who agrees with the “Blade counting” lobby. Rep. Y has $1,000,000,000,000 dollars but still only has 12 votes. Rep. X has $0 dollars in their campaign election and yet still has 48 votes. Rep. X wins the election without getting any money, while Rep. Y loses while getting all the money. $1,000,000,000,000 dollars did not mean 1,000,000,000,000 votes. Likewise, $0 dollars did not mean 0 votes.

What is so great about this is that anyone, and everyone, can petition their representative with grievances about the way a representative is voting or how they plan to vote.  In other words, each individual can have their voice heard, if they are active. If they are not active then their voice will not be heard, especially if they do not vote at all, and those who are active will have their voice heard. Those with the most voices, and thus the most votes, will be heard the most, and they will be represented in the decision making of their representative. You might not like the outcome, but you were not prevented from lobbying your representative by any laws ore regulations. No laws were passed by your representatives to regulate how you petition your representative with your grievances. You were free to speak your mind. You were free to peacefully assemble with people who share the your grievance. You, and they, were free to lobby your representative with your grievances.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: