When it comes to low voter turnout and people fed up with politics, look no further than the insane idea that money equals speech for purposes of our political process. I suspect many who read this have heard about the Supreme Court (SC) case from 2010 called “Citizens United (CU) v Federal Election Commission (FEC)” . This ruling essentially set in stone the ability of the super wealthy and powerful to be able to buy our politicians legally with the use of Super-PAC’s. CU was a literal case of the John Roberts SC legislating (creating law beyond the case itself) from the bench.
For those unfamiliar with CU, this case stemmed from a campaign attack movie made against Hillary Clinton (HRC) during the 2008 campaign season that was created by Citizens United, a group founded by Floyd Brown in 1988 made famous for its grossly negligent if not outright racist “Willie Horton” ad used against Michael Dukakis in that year’s presidential race. The movies content against Hillary was not the reason for the lawsuit, but on its funding. At the time, the funding for the movie was from unknown sources that were “donated” into CU’s PAC. The FEC ruled against CU initially and CU sued to protect its donor’s identities.
Say what you might about Hillary Clinton or any politician for that matter. All I can only say the damage done to our nation’s electoral fabric should not be negated by any negative feelings you may have about any politicians, or the political process, our low voter turnout, or our democratic processes in general. There is little doubt in my mind the CU ruling has been nothing short of disastrous as it allowed for the creation of the aforementioned SuperPAC’s. But CU wasn’t the worst of it for our already fragile democratic republic.
A more recent case that expanded upon the worst aspects of CU called “McCutcheon v FEC” made it possible for multi-millionaires and billionaires to give tens, if not potentially hundreds of millions of dollars or more directly to a SuperPAC without that SuperPAC having to publicly divulge where any of those donations came from. Both the CU and McCutheon cases are the logical conclusion to several earlier SC cases, each adding its own layer upon money equaling speech and making a mockery of our democratic processes. For the sake of space, I will bring up two more SC cases.
Bank of Boston v Bellotti 1978 claimed since banks had no “vocal chords” and the human bankers who ran them did, they were collectively the defacto “voice” of that bank, if for example that bank “decided” it wanted to give campaign donations directly to a candidate of “its” choosing. This ruling basically gave corporate execs a second layer of speech rights atop their own individual speech rights and that is as the collective voice they made in the name of the bank.
Then there’s “Buckley v Valeo” 1976. This court case was where the insane idea of money equaling speech within our political system began. If We, the People have any hope of restoring our Constitutionally limited representative democratic republic so that our elected officials are no longer subjected for or against by unknown mega donations THIS is the case that needs to be reversed if we have any hope of restoring decency and legitimacy to our democratic process.
The good news is there are a couple of political movements fighting to reverse CU; Represent.US & Wolf-PAC. Unfortunately these groups are focused mainly upon reversing CU. Make no mistake about it, and I need everyone to understand this, but reversing CU only brings us back to how things were prior to the CU ruling in 2010. Because even if there is success in reversing CU, money would still equal speech (Buckley) and politicians can still be “bought” (Bellotti) with large corporate donations.
That is why it is vitally important that we contact our Senators and make them understand that any future SC justices, regardless of who nominates them must be put on record for being in favor of reversing Buckley v Valeo. Research and consider joining up with Represent.US and/or Wolf-PAC because even reversing CU is better than doing nothing. Let us instill a real sense of patriotism within ourselves that we fought to take back our democratic process from the clutches of those who unfairly have a louder voice than you because of the horrendously terrible idea that money equals speech.