In an industry that finds itself almost permanently on the brink of extinction, it’s only natural to always be reaching for a life raft. It’s human nature.
But sometimes, what you find isn’t a raft, but a snake.
Over the past several years the industry has put itself in firm support of countless politicians. Senator Ron Johnson. Representative Duncan Hunter. Larry Faircloth.
Every one had the ability to help, but all fell short when it came down to getting business done. Two of them ran smack into their own scandals that would be better for us to steer clear of anyhow.
There’s a common theme among political types. During election season, they’re glad to have vapers on board. As soon as they’re elected? Crickets.
There’s a reason for that. No one in public office, aside from a random fluke, supports our cause.
There are sound reasons for members of either party to support us, but sadly sound reason has little effect on how most elected officials vote.
At heart, vaping should have been a Democratic issue. It was the best chance ever to stick it to big tobacco and support the little guy. Poor people smoke at a dramatically higher rate than their more affluent counter parts. Vaping was a way to make a difference for them.
But that’s not how it went.
The Democrats genuinely believe “we” are “big tobacco.” If that wasn’t enough of an issue, the piss poor labeling decisions made by many in this industry only furthered to seal the deal.
So, we should support Republicans, right?
Vaping has three major enemies in this country: Public Health, Big Pharma and Big Tobacco (simultaneously our biggest ally.)
What does that have to do with voting Republican?
According to opensecrets.org, Republican candidates and elected officials received 82 percent of all tobacco lobbying dollars in the last session of congress. That means that the party we have depended on to help this industry through it’s time of crisis, has someone else’s best interests at heart.
The pharmaceutical industry paints a different picture — one that likely shows why we are shunned by both parties.
In the 2016-2017 session, pharmaceutical companies (both manufacturers and product designers) gave twelve times the amount in contributions (almost $45 million) as big tobacco ($2.5 million.)
These dollars are split more evenly between parties than tobacco contributions — about 55-45 in favor of Republicans.
In the above-mentioned session, 399 of 435 Congressmen accepted contributions from pharmaceutical companies with an average donation of $40,000. In the Senate, 97 of 100 Senators accepted pharmaceutical contributions with the average Republican receiving ($93,597) while Democrats received an average of $61,523.
What does this mean? It means literally that almost everyone is in the pocket of either the pharmaceutical or tobacco industry. In many cases, both.
My question is, in a world where both parties are active supporters of two industries hell bent on our destruction — who do you support?
The truth is, I don’t know either.
But I know the candidates we have supported in the past have done very little for our industry. Behind closed doors some insist they support us, but it’s not enough.
With all of this said, we still need to support the candidates who are willing to stand up for this industry — and there’s no way to know if we will be pushed aside again as we have in the past.
All we can do is keep trying, but remember one thing — any of these people who claim to be friends, are only friends until someone with a larger contribution disagrees with what we have to say.
It sucks, but it’s the truth.
Welcome to Bullshit American Politics 101.