By Josh Barker
“Hi! I’m Gil Fulbright, and the people who bankroll my political career tell me I’m running for President, so here I am.” This is how the commercial that has gone viral on Youtube for the fictitious Presidential candidate begins. He goes on to say, “Real hardworking Americans are important to me, is a tagline I will be using throughout my campaign. I might not be qualified to be President, but a dramatic camera angle can make me look like a President. A President with the conviction to nod and the courage to point… Ideas, policies, morals, these things I don’t need. What I need is $2 Billion. Here’s the part where I gloss over the issues, issues like education and making it… um… good, the economy and proving it by repeating the word jobs, and blah blah blah, something to get votes from women and minorities.
“I have a five step plan for making America better. Appeal to special interests, billionaire, and lobbyists behind closed doors, raise $2 Billion, promise you earnestly it will be different this time, get elected, and break all my promises and work tirelessly for the big donors who fund my presidency…
“Every four years, America is faced with a critical choice, Clinton or Bush, or somebody else. Well I’m Gil Fulbright, and with a big enough donor, I can be that somebody else. I’m Honest Gil Fulbright and I approve of whatever my marketing team has put into this message.”
This commercial put on by Represent.us, an organization dedicated to stopping government corruption through statewide anti-corruption acts, is symbolic of what some or even most of the candidates and even politicians as a whole think or do. The organization is trying to expose politicians and their ads for what they truly are. “2016 presidential candidates would never be this honest, but with the amount of money pouring into American politics, it’s exactly what they’re doing,” says their video explaining the Fulbright campaign. “We have a serious problem. Money has completely corrupted our political system.” They then go on to quote news media sources, such as NBC saying, “The 2016 race will cost $5 billion… The system has been utterly overrun by money interests… [The 2016 campaign] is not just about the voters right now, it’s about the cash.”
While not specifically aimed at individual candidates, it does have the phrase “Real hardworking Americans are important to me,” trademarked according to the ad, just like Donald Trump trademarked, “Make America great again!”
Finally, the whole point of the represent.us campaign is to end corruption. An example that Mansur Gidfar, the Communications Director for Represent.Us, gives is a Princeton Study. “Researchers at Princeton University looked at more than 20 years of data to answer a pretty simple question, ‘does the government represent the people?’. Now, this is what they found. This axis [the horizontal axis on the graph] represents public support for any given idea. On the left at 0% are ideas that not a single American wants. On the right at 100% are ideas that everyone supports. This axis [the vertical axis] is the likelihood of Congress passing a law that reflects any of these ideas with a 0 to 100% chance. An ideal republic would be like [a straight diagonal line from (0,0) to (100,100)]. If 50% of the public support an idea, there is a 50% chance of it becoming law. If 80% of us support something, there’s an 80% chance… Most Americans would agree that, with a few exceptions, we should be as close to this ideal as possible. Unfortunately, the way America actually works, doesn’t even come close.
“Take an idea that no one, literally nobody supports and it has about a 30% chance of becoming federal law. Now, take a very popular idea, the most popular idea this country has ever and there’s also about a 30% chance of it becoming law. This means the number of American voters for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law… But there’s a catch. That [horizontal] line only accounts for the bottom 90% of income earners in America. Economic elites and business interests who can afford lobbyists get their own line. [It is] much closer to the ideal. When they want something, the government is much more likely to do it. And when they don’t, they have the power to completely block it from happening no matter how much the rest of the country supports it.” Corruption is a problem and Gil Fulbright is trying to help end it. After his Senate campaign along the same lines in 2014, Fulbright is ready to run for President, and Represent.Us is hoping that the rest of America will put corruption in the stoplight of the election, because of Fulbright. For more information about Represent.Us or to watch Fulbright’s campaign ads, type in represent.us in your internet browser instead of bing.com and it will come up just like a regular website even without a .com or .org ending.