We would still be voting for our candidates but we'd be voting based on our bank accounts. Not one person, one vote. It was nice to see that the average contribution to Obama was only $80-something but, along with a lot of $10 contributions were still a relative handful of very large contributions from individuals who were essentially buying their way into at least a bargaining platform (I'm taking the more optimistic view) with the government.
For so long, I have looked at the amount of money spent on campaigning and kept wondering why the same people who are so willing to dole out big bucks to get a certain person into office are so unwilling to spend a small percentage of that amount to take care of public services like education and public infrastructure. If paying another $500/year in taxes that could be used for important projects would be so damaging, why is paying $1000s/year to keep someone in office who won't raise your taxes by a fraction of that not a problem?
Well, it is not really “one person, one vote,” the wealthy donors tend to select the winners (both of the election and of the party candidate contests) either way. Wealthy donors are the drivers in the system as it exists, they give to candidates for “access” to candidates regarding their bidding. The small-time donors give based on what grand changes or policies the candidates say they will achieve for the nation yet never do — and, I suspect, know they will never accomplish (GWB & fiscal responsibility, GHWB & “read my lips: no new taxes,” McCain & campaign finance reform, any Republican & smaller government and less spending, etc. (not to single out Republicans, Dems do it as well but there are just no clear examples that come immediately to mind.)) Again and again the US populace buys into one heap of rhetoric or another, grand promises that are unrealistic given how the system has historically worked. The true believers happily contribute their $10-$100 sums and at the end of the day they may be happy with just a small provision that happens to come as a return. I would estimate that a lot of the support of true believers is simply a reaction to the contrast between the rhetoric of promises and the outcome of the past eight years. At any rate, it is the corporate money that runs politics in this country, certainly on the national level.