Today’s Atlanta Journal Constitution’s headline article, It’s Deal vs. Carter, admirably gets to the point: “Gov. Nathan Deal heads into his re-election summer and fall bolstered by…campaign checks flowing in from big statehouse interests…[b]ut battling ethics questions.” And what should we know about Carter? He’s “a fresh-faced Democratic opponent with a famous name who can raise money from Georgia millionaires, D.C. lobbyists and Hollywood big shots.” While money isn’t the only thing that matters, the story is an important reminder: without major donors and vested interests on their side no politician stands a chance. Moneyed interests are the gatekeepers. The vote is just a referendum on candidates who are successful in the market for favorable donations and expenditures. If big spenders of one sort or another don’t approve of a candidate, you’ll never get to vote on that candidate. That’s the general rule and a reminder that our system of government is not at all what it claims to be.