In a startling decision, the United States Supreme Court has “officially” put America up for auction to the highest bidder. The decision handed down by the Citizen United v. Federal Election Commissions case has effectively removed the limit to which a corporation or union can contribute to a political candidate’s campaign. This change, impacting every publicly held office from the zoning commisioner of your local town to the presidency, enables big corporations to effectively silence the voice of opposition with brute force.
So What Does This Mean?
So what effects does this have on the citizens of our once “free” country? The importance of this decision is that prior political candidates were elected based on their merit, leadership skills and visions for the future; however, now that the supreme court has opened the flood gates of private funding, the candidate that has the backing of the company willing to contribute more private money has a exponentially greater chance of winning the election. Imagine if Barack Obama was elected with the monetary support of major Health Insurance providers. Do you think Obama’s top priority would be for health care reform and a public option for health insurance? Probably not.
Incentives for Corporate America
Suppose there are two candidates running for mayor of your local town. One mayor, whom you share political viewpoints with, strongly opposes the introduction of a Wal-Mart Superstore to your city stating that it would have a negative effect on the community with increased traffic, hardships for local businesses, etc. While the other candidate supports the introduction of Wal-Mart into your neihborhood. Upon realizing that the construction of their store depends on the outcome of the Mayoral election Wal-Mart officials run the numbers and calculate that the introduction of their store would produce a profit of (X) and decides to contribute large sums of money (Y) to their candidate for local mayor where Y < X. With the increased funding following Wal-Mart's surge of capital, Mayor Wal-Mart buys up all the local ad space in newspapers, billboards, radio and television. Suddenly, the other candidate has little hope of winning the election following the onslaught of Wal-Mart funded advertising.
The Big Picture
While this example is obviously fictitious, you can see the political implications that the ruling involves. With an uncapped limit on private funding that political candidates can receive from big corporations, they are effectively crushing all opposition with a deluge of advertising. America following this ruling is for sale to the highest bidder for every political office, from Police Chief Microsoft to President Exxon.