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Jimmy Carter: The US is an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery

Former President Jimmy Carter said July 28 on the nationally syndicated radio show the Thom Hartmann Program that the United States is now an “oligarchy” in which “unlimited political bribery” has created “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.” Both Democrats and Republicans, Carter said, “look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves.”

Carter was responding to a question from Hartmann about recent Supreme Court decisions on campaign finance:

HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, “unlimited money in politics.” It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. … Your thoughts on that?

CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger.


Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States (1977 to 1981) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2002. Carter is the author of many books, including his latest, A Full Life…Reflections at Ninety,

4 comments on “Jimmy Carter: The US is an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery

  1. Dan Cobb
    August 18, 2015

    Sorry to keep commenting on this article, but I read recently that President Carter has been diagnosed with cancer. And that he is 90 years old. And I worry that there aren’t enough Jimmy Carters.


  2. Dan Cobb
    August 14, 2015

    Campaign Finance Reform. Publicly funded elections. Strict, low personal limits on campaign contributions. No more PACs. No more corporate contributions.


  3. Dan Cobb
    August 14, 2015

    I’m glad to see President Carter speak about this. The Citizens United decision was a profound tragedy for representative government – democracy in the US. Short of a constitutional amendment effectively nullifying the decision, Congress could pass laws that would do an end run around the decision. But both of those options require a congress that is believes in the fundamental rights of citizens over corporations. Today, with the legal protections corporations have, the rights corporations and PACs now have to “influence” or basically buy elections, and the fact that PACs now write the legislation that governs our lives, corporations today have far more rights than ordinary citizens. It is difficult to imagine how our former democracy could have fallen so far. American democracy is clearly under assault and we can easily lose more battles. We citizens need to take our adversaries much more seriously.


  4. Daniel Burston
    August 4, 2015

    Truer words were never spoken. Bravo, Jimmy Carter!

    Liked by 1 person

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