Wait, 40hz, weren't you recently advocating *not buying anything* rather than buying from independents, as I suggested? Isn't that the opposite of "giving something back to the creatives"?
As for the roots of this problem, let us be clear, there will always be special interests and they will usually have money, and as long as money is involved in the political process it will bias the results towards moneyed interests. There are two possible solutions I see, one more effective than the other but also less likely.
That first approach is to literally remove money from the process, from life in general if possible, but (only slightly more realistically) at least from politics. This is about as likely as me flying around like superman. Even if you could get the system to outlaw campaign contributions, then you're just sending it underground; instead of public lists of who the biggest campaign contributors are as we now have, you have the same - or even larger - amounts of money going from god knows who to whatever politicians, in exchange for no doubt even firmer allegiances, all of it undocumented and untraceable. Remember that outlawing anything that people (or corporations, for that matter) really want to do never stops it, sometimes it even in strange ways encourages it. Look at prohibition or the modern drug war.
Anyway, failing that option, there is something you really *can* advocate for that can make a real difference and actually has a chance of happening. I'm going to put this in bold and underlined so people read it instead of my largely useless preamble above:Instant Runoff Voting
Instant Runoff Voting is one of a number of alternative voting systems that have a statistically demonstrable and mathematically provable advantage in obtaining fair voting results. It is one of the single most important of possible reforms to any democracy that doesn't already use it. More important than campaign finance reform, more important than redistricting issues, electoral college reform, even Citizens United.
The single biggest threat to the effectiveness of our democracy is our (literally) broken method of electing leaders. Believe it or not it is actually statistically and mathematically demonstrable that a Plurality voting system like the US uses is one of the least fair and effective ways of electing candidates which the majority of voters desire. Think about that for a second. One of the most powerful nations on Earth uses one of the least effective voting methods!
This system has resulted in the widely lamented "2 party system" we have today, in which voting for a "3rd party" ("independent") is almost always seen as useless, "throwing your vote away". This is obviously a very dangerous attitude for the majority to have if we're to have any hope of change. It means that moneyed interests have fewer targets and a much easier time creating consensus for their interests. What we desperately need are more choices, a greater variety of options, diffusion in the political process such that money can concentrate less effectively, and candidates with differing views can at least have the possibility of winning major grass-roots support (which can be incredibly powerful - if there's anything we've learned from the likes of Kickstarter, not to mention the Obama campaign and more, it's that "the people" can really do a lot when inspired). Campaigns like Ralph Nader's have sadly and ironically actually reduced people's hope and desire for 3rd party candidates, because circumstantially many felt that votes for Nader cost Gore the presidency. This is just one example, but a relatively recent and powerful one. Imagine if Instant Runoff Voting, or at least some other more representational system, had existed at that time. The results would have been very different. Simply knowing that your *desires* will *always* be reflected in your vote can dramatically change *how* you vote. From fear-driven to aspirational, hope-driven voting.
The beauty of all this is that IRV has already been implemented in some local governments
and has even come close to passing at the state level (Alaska, I believe). It will necessarily start small, just like this, but if we each support IRV or similar ranked voting options in our local and state governments, we can eventually move it up to a national policy vote. If IRV could be made national law for voting on our presidential, congressional, and gubernatorial candidates, I believe we would see a lot of change for the better. If nothing else we would know that the will of the people was being much better reflected, even if that will may manifest sadly in the realization that everyone is stupid after all.