Our democracy is under attack. Corporate greed has led to court rulings that have allowed companies to pour massive amounts of ‘dark money’ into our political system.Leading to a perversion of our American principles and harming workers all across the United States. The biggest culprit in this hijacking is the Supreme Court ruling relating to Citizens United.
What is Citizens United v. the FEC?
Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is a case heard by the Supreme Court in 2010 concerning campaign finance. The Court ruled that the free speech clause of the First Amendment applied to companies. To put it simply – corporations are people and money is speech. This has given rise to Super PACs that can collect limitless amounts of money from corporations. These funds are then used to engage in unlimited political spending to benefit one campaign over another.
There are many legal nuances to what this means, but here is an example of how this decision can impact an actual election in any political race. Here are Candidates A and B as they run for an elected position in our current political finance system:
Candidate A – Servant of the People
Candidate A has spent their entire political career fighting for their constituents. They have shunned contributions from big corporate donors as that money often comes with strings attached. Candidate A refuses to let themselves become beholden to business interests over the best interests of the people they have been chosen to represent. Candidate A may not have as much cash in their coffers, but they sleep well at night knowing that they put their people over profits and that their role is to work for their voters to make their lives better.
Candidate B – Crony of the Corporations
Candidate B has very little, if any, political experience. They have spent their lives working for an oil, gas, pharmaceutical, refinery or some other corporate entity. They may have even been a lobbyist for that company making a living by attempting to sway legislation for the business through financial contributions to candidates who agreed to support their agendas. Candidate B has gone into this election with a very clear knowledge of what their role will be if elected. They are there to win and then fight for what is best for the company who bankrolled them, regardless of what impact that could have on their constituents.
How the Citizens United Ruling Impacts this Election
Money is ammunition while campaigning. Because Candidate B has a deluge of money that they can pour into advertising they can amplify any message through paid political ads. They can run smear campaigns against their opponents on TV, radio and print. They can alter and misconstrue facts to serve their election agenda. This is especially troubling now as social media giants like Facebook have said that they won’t fact check or stop lies in political ads. With the amount of data social media sites have collected on their subscribers this can be used for targeted political advertising to achieve devastating results. This gives the Super PACs backing Candidate B free rein to spread fabrications and deceptions to subvert the truth and confuse voters. Candidate A’s decision to not accept money from Super PACs because of their belief that it is morally improper leaves them at a colossal disadvantage.
The Results of the Election
Though Candidate A may have been the superior choice to best serve the voters, the amount of money spent by corporations supporting Candidate B was too much to overcome. They did not outwork Candidate A. They did not have more experience than Candidate A. They did not have better ideas than Candidate A. They simply had the backing of more money, and money in politics is power. Now that Candidate B has won the election there is only one question to ask:
Who Does Candidate B Now Work For?
They work for who they have always worked for, the corporations that are backing them. Through a flawed campaign finance system those Super PACs have been allowed to pump obscene amounts of ‘Dark Money’ into elections and pervert our American democratic system. They have bought democracy and with that newly acquired political position they have bought the legislation that they can enact with it.
How Does This Harm American Workers?
Corporations are buying legislation. That legislation has a very specific purpose, and that is to undermine and limit the rights of workers benefiting the corporate masters. The abilities to collectively bargain are under attack. The rights to protest and strike are under attack. Workers coming together to form Unions are under attack. The money being spent by these Super PACs, who have no restraints on spending, is being used to systematically erode workers’ rights. It is also tearing apart the very fabric of our democracy.
How Do We Fix It?
We demand better. Comprehensive campaign finance reform is required to get the dark money out of politics to level the playing field and restore our American democratic process. Abolishing the Citizens United ruling is necessary to make that happen. Corporations aren’t people. Money isn’t speech. Contact your Member of Congress and demand better of our government.
Of the People, By the People, For the People – American Workers First.