The Citizens United ruling has given control of our elections to giant corporations and the super-rich.
Super PACs and other outside groups are spending spectacular sums. Karl Rove’s Crossroads over $300 million. The Koch Brothers gave $400 million. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce $100 million. The Chamber has determined to put friendly judges in place with their money over the last 10 years.
Led by casino magnate and billionaire-25-times-over Sheldon Adelson, the top 100 individual contributors account for almost three-quarters of all the money raised by Super PACs. An even smaller group of super rich tycoons is powering the outside groups that do not disclose their donors.
Wall Street and the financial sector is pouring far more money into the 2012 elections than any other industry; the industry has spent almost twice as much on the presidential race as any other. This, to rescind the rather mild Dodd-Franklin regulations on their industry. They want to change the rules to give them a permanent advantage forever over the middle class worker and investor.
The candidate with the most money doesn’t always win, but the spending negatively affects election outcomes. In 2010, outside groups backed the winning candidate in 60 of the 75 congressional races in which power changed hands. But the impact is even worse. The hidden money speakers define the tone of the campaigns, often establish the terms of debate, and affect the entire national race in other ways. It forces grass-roots, small local candidates to spend more money. They have to court the ultra wealthy and spend less time with regular people. Then, they end up accountable to donors before their constituents. We KNOW this is true.
And, no matter who wins, the big money spenders obtain massively enhanced power to take helpful and popular measures off the table and put candidates friendly to them in office. Chevron has spent $1.2 million on a local political committee to back three city council candidates in Richmond, California, where the company operates a large oil refinery plagued by safety violations. That is the kind of “democracy” we get from rogue money.
If we care about our country, we simply can’t let this go on. Dark Money flowing into the elections is unhealthy and unbalanced. I don’t believe Republicans want to see a money war for our countries ideas and ideals anymore than Democrats. Most Republicans are not super rich. But, right now, Republican wealth is crippling all of us. Obama may not be the best president we have ever had, but he certainly has a more balanced approach to leading us than Romney. Don’t let the money influence your vote. Help save this country from a disgracefully contentious political atmosphere. Help our congress by electing people with vision and solid plans. Don’t fall for attack ads fueled by who knows who?
We need to do some big things. We need public financing of our public elections. And we need a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and restore democracy to the people. And, it won’t happen with Romney as president. He has made that very clear.