When you have this much money, buying elections is a very cheap investment. It's these two factors --- the swashbuckling culture of wealth and income disparity that lie at the heart of our current problems.
This is not to say that campaign reform isn't useful. There are many groups out there coming together to try to overturn corporate personhood, Citizens United
and demand public funding of campaigns, among other things. In this interesting analysis
, Mark Schmitt concurs with Eliot Spitzer in the clip above about the potential dangers but posits that process could yield tangential results around the margins even if it fails to reach the intended goals. Schmitt likens it to the anti-abortion crusade on the right, in which the organizing ends up depending on the failure to reach goals to sustain itself, but I think there is a positive tangential result in terms of the cultural and social pressure such a campaign could produce. There will always be shameless rich people of course. But there's no reason society should allow them to celebrate their shamelessness. There have been many things that were once socially acceptable and no longer are --- it's hard, but not impossible.
Still, more campaign finance reform probably won't eliminate the total corruption of the DC institutions where 25 year old staffers are enticed by the early prospect of mid six figure lobbyist salaries and where everyone expects to cash out big. And it can't change the crumbling foundation of a nation that's perfectly willing to allow vastly wealthy individuals and institutions to evade the rule of law and brag about it while hoarding more and more of the nation's wealth for themselves.
In that Chris Hayes clip I think David Stockman probably has it right and it's a very uncomfortable observation. In order for our democracy to function as it should we may end up having to restrict free speech in some limited way around our elections. It's an appalling solution to an appalling problem. But until we can make a very substantial cultural shift that makes corruption shameful and an economic shift that redistributes some of this wealth back to the middle class, we're going to be seeing more and more ostentatious corruption of our democracy. That's a very tall order. I'm guessing we're going to have to come up with a way to do it all.