My thoughts on the United States Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon v. FEC can be summed up thusly:

Paul Campos of Salon has an excellent writeup of just how awful the Supreme Court’s decision in McCutcheon really is. Here’s a highlight.

And now, Wednesday, the next blow to attempting to keep the rich from being able to buy politicians as effortlessly as they purchase anything else has been struck by McCutcheon v. FEC, a Supreme Court case dealing with limits on how much money individuals can contribute to candidates.

McCutcheon has now struck down overall limits on individual campaign contributions. This latest outburst of judicial activism in the struggle to render campaign finance laws completely toothless is merely accelerating a historical process that is coming to seem almost inevitable.

To see why, consider the practical implications of the theory that weak or nonexistent limits on campaign finance will allow the rich to transform what is putatively a democratic republic into an unapologetic plutocracy.

If money can buy the political outcomes desired by the super-wealthy oligarchs at the apex of our increasingly unequal economy, then there are only two possible ways to avoid this result. First, we can assume that that there is a strong distinction between law and politics, that judges make legal rather than political decisions, and that legal decisions, unlike political outcomes, cannot be bought.

And here’s some reaction to the McCutcheon decision from lawmakers in Wisconsin, starting with Democratic State Rep. Chris Taylor.

“First the Citizens United ruling and now this? This Supreme Court seems intent on opening the floodgates for more and more political cash into our elections. Our republic was born out of bloodshed, out of the fight for independence. Our forefathers fought for individual rights and freedoms. I doubt any one of them thought those freedoms included the right to buy elections.

“Today’s ruling doesn’t impact the average American or the average donor. According to Billion Dollar Democracy, a US PIRG study, 32 super-rich donors contributed as much as 3.7 million small dollar donors in the last presidential election. Today’s ruling allows the super-rich to give even more money. By equating money with speech, the US Supreme Court is allowing more ‘speech’ for the most wealthy. This ruling threatens our democracy.”

Democratic U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin also issued a statement.

“This decision is extremely disappointing but not surprising coming from an activist court majority that has previously opened the floodgates of corporate special interest influence in our elections with the Citizens United decision. This is yet another step towards gutting campaign finance reforms and increasing the sway of the powerful and wealthy over our Democratic process. It is far too often the case in Washington that powerful corporate interests, the wealthy, and the well-connected get to write the rules, and now the Supreme Court has given them more power to rule the ballot box by creating an uneven playing field where big money matters more than the voice of ordinary citizens.”

The very notion that millionaires or billionaires have more free speech rights by virtue of the money said millionaires or billionaires possess is simply stunning and seems to me (and I’m sure many other reasonable people) to run counter to what our founding fathers had in mind for our country.

9 Responses to Some reaction to the SCOTUS decision in McCutcheon

  1. John Casper says:

    Thanks Zach.

    What a said day for America.

    Appreciate the strong statement from Sen. Baldwin, need a lot more of that.

  2. Duane12 says:

    No surprise here. To apply a Gumpism, “Stupid SCOTUS is as Stupid SCOTUS does.”

    In my opinion,the decision may even be helpful; it inspires me, and I suspect many others, for a person to person or grassroots effort to spread the message of the attempted oligarchy takeover and its corrupted Republican supporters.

    More money against more money is not a solution.

    • John Casper says:

      The problem is that what’s left of the main-stream-media is revenue starved. They need every dollar in ad spending that comes from political campaigns and the oligarchs understand that.

  3. John Casper says:

    From my timeline

    @sj_barlament Apr 2

    The illusion of democracy was nice while it lasted. Thanks, SCOTUS!

  4. standswithafist says:

    Can we make political ads on TV illegal? Maybe the rich can still give money but we can curtail the things it can be spent on.

  5. labman57 says:

    Perhaps we should simply do away with our system of electing people to public office via the ballot box, and instead allow corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals enter a bidding war to determine who shall be our state and federal legislators, governors, and next POTUS.

    The next occupant of the White House may as well be determined by a process akin to what takes place at Christie’s Auction House.

    • John Casper says:

      Think we’re already there.

      Oligarchs pick the candidates: 1 Romney and 1A Obama.

      1 Walker 1A Burke.

      Then you use the media to keep the two bases at each others throats, so they don’t even see the issues on which there’s substantial agreement, prosecuting Wall Street, legalizing pot, and withdrawing from foreign occupations.

      D’s can’t and shouldn’t give an inch on choice, but fighting with wingnuts over guns just plays into the oligarch’s hands. It keeps the 99% from uniting around collective bargaining, which is the only leverage we have. That’s why most oligarchs are so desperate to destroy it.

      I’m not saying D’s should abandon common sense solutions, like universal background checks, but in a lot of wingnut districts, even those aren’t gonna fly. Oligarchs are using gun rights (which are a result of the fear brought on by a lack of family supporting jobs) to ram through right-to-work laws. “During the Great Southwest Railroad Strike of 1886, he hired strikebreakers.[citation needed] According to labor unionists, he said at the time, ‘I can hire one-half of the working class to kill the other half.'”[18]

    • John Casper says:

      I don’t want to oversimplify this. I voted for Jill Stein (Green), only because I felt confident Obama would win Wisconsin with my vote. #thanksnatesilver

      The only real difference I saw between Obama and Romney was voting rights and that’s a really, really important issue.

      I understand that a pro-choice, pro-LGBT Burke’s better than Walker. Let’s just say it’s no shock to me that the GOP never comes up with forced birth, homophobic candidates who are pro-collective bargaining.

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