The End of Democracy, or Maybe Not
A big headline in the news during the past week has been the recent Citizens United vs. the Federal Electoral Committee decision. I haven't really seen anyone celebrating the decision. Or at least I haven't seen anyone celebrating in person; I have seen pundits arguing about the case on national television. The response of the politically activists I know seems to be of disbelief and anger. The response of everyone else seems to be indifference. Although a lot of people will scoff at this as just another example of the poor state of society today, I'm not sure that indifference is an irresponsible response in this case.
I am not a fan of the decision that limiting campaign contributions is unconstitutional, and am certainly not pleased by the thought of corporations being able to effectively buy politicians through huge contributions, but I wonder wether huge money on campaign adds will actually put an election in the bag. More expensive doesn't necessarily mean better, and if both sides of an election are getting and spending huge amounts of cash, the winner will be the one that uses the money most effectively.
Another thing that a lot of people are forgetting about is that although restrictions are not allowed now, disclosures are still constitutionally safe. If drastic campaign contribution disclosure law is enacted, ads will have to read “paid for by the Monsanto Corporation.” Although the American electorate may not be the most observant in the world, I think this will be a very effective tool in limiting the power corporations have over the vote.
I think this decision will only make the deals between politicians and corporations more visible, because of the reaction to it. For example, this was just introduced to the House last week:
The Shareholder Protection Act, H.R. 4537, would:
* Ensure that shareholders' political interests are accurately represented by their corporation.
* Require an authorizing vote of a majority of shareholders before general treasury funds can be spent on political activities.
* Require quarterly notification to all shareholders on corporations' contributions or expenditures for political activities.” Source
People could become more discerning about where their vote is going by seeing who gives to politicians.