Letters to the Editor: Small donors elevated Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Candidates, take note

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez at a Bernie Sanders rally
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaks during a rally for Bernie Sanders in New York on Oct. 19.
(Eduardo Munoz Alvarez / Associated Press)

To the editor: Law professor Lawrence Lessig correctly identifies the corrupting influence of big money in Congress. Yet, you cannot underestimate the positive effects of presidential candidates (and hopefully presidents) who run their campaigns accepting only contributions from small donors.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) did it in 2016 and continues to do so this time around. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) followed suit when she ran for Congress in 2018 and defeated an establishment adversary who was extremely well-funded. It can be done.

Winning elections by using only small donors’ contributions also clarifies the difference between Democrats and Republicans. When Democratic presidential candidate and South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg participates in a fundraising event with wine costing hundreds of dollars per bottle, he blurs the line between the two major parties.


Domenico Maceri, San Luis Obispo


To the editor: Campaign finance does not need reforming, it needs elimination. The only practical solution, one which major candidates are now coming to, has two parts.

First: federally funded elections. Candidates should be chosen for their vision, not their ability to raise money, and certainly not because they already have money.

Second: term limits. The idea of permanency in office presents a formidable temptation. Legislators should come to Washington, do their jobs and go home.

These two changes alone would mitigate the most obvious causes of corruption. They are not new ideas.

Bart Braverman, Indio



To the editor: I guess I am not clear why millionaires and billionaires are not allowed to donate and ask questions of presidential candidates. If they can afford to host a candidate in a cave with a crystal chandelier, so be it.

Buttigieg has every right to talk to big donors and small donors. Just because the rest of us are required to go stand with 5,000 people to hear a candidate shout campaign slogans to the masses doesn’t mean the candidates shouldn’t talk to small groups.

If I had the means, I would go, listen and welcome the opportunity to have a one-on-one chat.

Susan Cossaboom, Yorba Linda