There’s a big push on the Democratic side to try to get Wall Street out of politics. Bernie Sanders took to the Senate floor in August to rail against Citizens United and declare it was “legalized bribery.” He then went to his campaign website in a screed entitled “Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restoring Democracy.”
Almost six years ago, as a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, by a 5-to-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially said to the wealthiest people in this country: you already own much of the American economy. Now, we are going to give you the opportunity to purchase the U.S. Government, the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, Governors’ seats, legislatures, and State judicial branches as well.
The Citizens United decision hinges on the absurd notion that money is speech, corporations are people, and giving huge piles of undisclosed cash to politicians in exchange for access and influence does not constitute corruption.
During this campaign cycle, billions of dollars from the wealthiest people in this country are already flooding the political process. Super PACs – a direct outgrowth of the Citizens United decision – are enabling the wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country to contribute unlimited amounts of money to campaigns.
Hillary Clinton yells from the rafters on her campaign site how Citizens United puts a stranglehold on American politics and keeps “everyday voters” from getting involved.
“We have to end the flood of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political system, and drowning out the voices of too many everyday Americans. Our democracy should be about expanding the franchise, not charging an entrance fee.”
Democrats can complain about money in politics all they want, but they’re forgetting something important: politicians don’t have to accept donations from corporations or “the wealthy.” It’s the same thing with those dreaded lobbyists John McCain called “birds of prey” to Politico in 2008. There’s nothing wrong with corporations wanting to donate money, just like there’s nothing wrong with you or I wanting to do the same thing. The First Amendment covers everyone and that means groups like corporations and unions (which Democrats so conveniently forget benefit from Citizens United) have the right to donate to whatever candidate they want to. But there’s nothing stopping candidates and elected officials from declining big money donations. Those calling for a law banning corporations from politics are just giving politicians a cop out, instead of real reform. They’re basically saying, “Oh, politicians are going to accept this cash anyway, so let’s punish the donors.” That’s just a ridiculous way of thinking and so bass ackwards it’s not funny.
The Right needs to point out how hypocritical the Left is on campaign finance reform. A few days before Ronda Rousey got KO’d by Holly Holm she endorsed Sanders “because he doesn’t take corporate money.” The problem is this isn’t true because Sanders accepts corporate donations like every other politician. Here’s OpenSecrets.org on Sanders’ corporate campaign donors.
Clinton’s attempt to defend her Wall Street backers in Saturday’s debate was even more bizarre.
“I represented New York, and I represented New York on 9/11 when we were attacked. Where were we attacked? We were attacked in downtown Manhattan, where Wall Street is. I did spend a whole lot of time and effort helping them rebuild. That was good for New York. It was good for the economy and it was a way to rebuke the terrorists who had attacked our country.”
I’ve no problem with a law requiring candidates to release who actually is giving them money and making it easily accessible on their campaign website. This way voters would be able to see if the candidate’s rhetoric actually matched their actions. If that’s not going to happen, then the Right needs to point out places like OpenSecrets.org on a regular basis to show the flip-flopping of the Left and hammer it home at every opportunity possible. The thing just has to be messaged correctly. If it’s not, then it will just go in one ear and out the other. JD Bryden at FreeRadicalNetwork.com suggests following Andrew Breitbart’s lead.
If you search Andrew Breitbart on YouTube, you will see a nigh-endless list of clips of him in front of protesters, ably confronting them and confusing them, often simultaneously. One of my favorite examples of this was when Andrew took some of the anti-capitalist protesters he was covering (whilst rollerblading!) to Applebees for lunch. What do you even THINK as a protester after something like that?
That wasn’t the only trick up Andrew’s sleeve. In fact, when looking at the video, it seems that his most potent act was that of merely showing up to these protests, camera in tow, and talking to the protesters. His curiosity was rewarded with video evidence of protesters calling him every name in the book, including homophobic slurs. It was amazing. His presence alone was enough to cause Leftists to implode, reducing their image from “valiant fighters for equality” to crass thugs full of sound and fury.
The Right needs to use these tactics to take down the Left on campaign finance. If the Democrats really wanted big money out of politics, they’d lead by example and not accept big corporation cash. Since they aren’t, all their calls for “reform” are just light, fluffy air which sound good to their supporters but in the end means nothing.