A good number of Bahamians are so enamored of the US political system that they breezily adopt language that it is not necessarily germane to The Bahamas.
One need not always refer to “checks and balances”. The term check(s) is often sufficient depending on the context. Similarly, “campaign finance reform” is mostly a misnomer as there is little campaign finance regulation to reform. Language matters because it determines how we think about an issue.
The manner in which money flows in politics speaks to the relative health of a democracy in terms of whose voices and interests are prioritized by those in office. It speaks also to the levels of corruption by politicians and public officials.
The matter of regulating money in politics is about more than how political parties finance campaigns. The broader issues are about how parties are financed in general, and the money, gifts and arrangements politicians receive for all manner of favors and quid pro quos.
Consider this hypothetical. A Leader of the Opposition at the federal level in Canada receives a lucrative contract from an oil exploration company to lobby federal officials. When this is disclosed he refuses to detail how much he was paid.
After his party wins office and he becomes Prime Minister, there is still no disclosure, even as his former client presses business before the new government. One need not donate directly to a party’s campaign in order to influence a government.
Human collectives are typically poor at self-regulation and self-policing, be they religious or financial institutions, politicians or public officials, or professional groups such as lawyers and journalists.
Such collectives tend to be more ethical and transparent, less hypocritical, and more likely to live up to their stated values where there are external mechanisms and sources to which they are accountable.