Student Voice: Josh Korn

Why Can’t I Run for President of the US?

By Josh Korn, Third-year Political Science Major

If you have been paying any attention at all to the run-up to the 2016 election, you know why you and I can’t someday run for President. With the election still 9 months away, the top 6 candidates have raised  a total of over $217 million for their campaigns. But that’s not all. So far, an additional $187 million has been raised by SuperPacs and “outside” organizations to spend on these candidates.

Not just you or I, but probably 99 percent of Americans couldn’t raise that kind of money to run for office. That’s a big reason why so many people are disgusted with politics and feel that their voice doesn’t count.

But there’s hope! This year for the first time, every one of the Presidential candidates have been talking about the problem of money in our political system. And all of them have said that something has to be done. They know that the American people are demanding change!

Of course some candidates suggest very little change. But others seem to be serious about really overhauling the way we fund campaigns in order to curb the overwhelming power of rich donors. That would give ordinary Americans more say, which  means that some time in the future, you or I could actually run for office without having mega-bucks.

But there is a catch! This will only happen if enough people, including students, actually vote — to show we want big money out of our politics and people back in.

So I’m going to pay attention this time, and I’m going to vote. I’m going to figure out which candidates are serious about reforming the way political campaigns are funded. Because if we can get big money out of politics, we can make progress on so many other things we care about – climate change, economic inequality, the high cost of college, the out-of-control student debt, mass incarceration and more.

When rich donors no longer get to decide about policies and laws, we can. Then the promise of democracy in America – of a government truly of, by, and for the people – will be realized.

The student vote is huge, important, and can make a real difference. So join me this year: register, vote, and support candidates who will make it possible for all of us to say that we can (if we want to) run for President.

The views expressed in op-eds are solely those of the student who wrote and submitted it. They do not necessarily reflect those of The New Paltz Oracle, its staff members, the campus and university or the Town or Village of New Paltz.