2020 Candidate Gov. Bullock Points Out 'Original Sin' in American Democracy

Photo Credit: Jose Luis Magana/AP/Shutterstock
May 30, 2019

By Justin Chermol

Among all the issues making American politics dysfunctional, presidential candidate Gov. Steve Bullock (D-Mont.) says there's one thing above all else that he calls democracy's "original sin": money.

"Unless we address that, we're never gonna get Washington D.C. working again," Bullock told Cheddar Thursday.

Like Gov. Jay Inslee, who is running almost exclusively on a climate change platform, Bullock is using an approach that puts a single policy proposal above all else. The Big Sky governor is running to overturn Citizens United, the 2010 landmark Supreme Court case that ruled political spending from corporate entities is a form of free speech.

As governor of Montana, Bullock helped pass a law that made it mandatory for campaigns to disclose every dollar donated from organizations 90 days out from an election.

"I think that's something that everybody ought to at least know: who's trying to buy the election," he said.

Bullock used examples of donor-related interests that have stonewalled necessary legislative agendas. He mentioned that President George H.W. Bush pushed for a climate change initiative and sought White House advice on a plan, but it was ultimately halted due to the Koch brothers, and other groups.

He also used the Trump tax cut plans as an example.

"Senator [Lindsey] Graham said we have to do this to make our donors happy," Bullock said. "If that's the incentives at the same time that the average worker in real-terms over the last 40 years hasn't had a pay increase, well then, Washington is frozen and bought by the money, it's not bought necessarily by the representative people all across the country."

According to a recent Pew Research study,, dark money in politics does not even crack the public's main concerns, however. A majority of Americans appear to care most about the economy, healthcare costs, and terrorism. Nevertheless, the Mueller report did not crack the list either, and Bullock says most Americans don't care about the Russia investigation.

"At the end of the day, I was just in Iowa for a couple days, folks are talking about their healthcare prices, they're talking about what's gonna happen with the soybeans and the hogs," he said.

"They're talking about can I get a better job? Can I have an income that I don't have to take a second job? I think that's what most folks are focusing on, outside of Washington."