The Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision in 2010 legalized unlimited campaign contributions and other election spending on the part of corporations, non-profit associations, and labor unions. This decision means that it is now unconstitutional to “limit the free speech” of these groups by limiting what they can spend to make their opinions known to the public through advertising. Since that decision, organizations have poured millions of dollars into the election coffers of all House, Senate, and Presidential candidates.
This decision paved the way for Super PACs, which are “non-profit organizations” into which individuals and groups can anonymously pour billions of dollars in an attempt to sway elections. Technically, Super PACs can’t contribute directly to campaigns, but the advertising money they pour into elections can tip the balance in a close race.
The purpose of all of these campaign contributions is not only to sway various elections to the donors’ desired results, but more importantly, it creates an unspoken agreement between the candidate and the donor that the issues that are important to the donor will be pushed by the politician in their elected position. It’s a quid pro quo that siphons billions out of the Federal treasury to benefit these groups.
Organizations like this can also lock in their advantages because as they elect more and more politicians at the state level, they can then redistrict the House seats in their states to benefit their cause. “Gerrymandering” has been a reality since the founding of the nation, and used by both parties, but it has been fine-tuned in the Super PAC era.
My question is…Is this what we as individual citizens want? Do we want politicians who are obligated to vote the way their wealthy donors want, instead looking after the needs of the average citizens? If you are tired of being walked on, of being ignored, of the gap between the rich and poor in this country growing ever greater, then the only solution is an amendment to the Constitution.
Because the Citizens United decision was made by the Supreme Court, it’s no longer possible to pass laws restricting campaign contributions. The only way to change anything for the better is through a constitutional amendment, which would have precedence over any Supreme Court decision.
I have drafted what I believe to be a legitimate amendment, called the Clean Elections Amendment. It has only two purposes, to take all private money out of the election process for all Federal campaigns, and to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians. If passed, this could fundamentally change the election process in the United States, and bring politics back to what I believe the founders intended, a contest of ideas.
As it is, elections are driven by money, not by ideas. The ideas we think we are voting on are those of the wealthy donors and behind-the-scenes image makers, who use issues and ideology in their attempt to manipulate us into voting for their candidates.
No one currently in power now wants this to end! They have the system they want right now! If we are waiting for someone to come along and turn this around, and rescue us from the domination of the wealthy, we are going to be bitterly disappointed. There is simply too much power and wealth at stake for anyone to want this to change. If we want change, we must MAKE them change! We must FORCE our elected officials to give us back the Democracy bequeathed to us by our Founders!