Citizens United Featured
When I speak with folks at town meetings and participate in debates with the other candidates, the impact of Citizens United is raised. My response is two-fold: 1) It will be the law of the land for the foreseeable future; 2) For Democrats, it is a huge opportunity to practice some political jujitsu.
Citizens United is a bad decision. Free speech is, be definition, equal speech. We should all have access to the public square to voice our opinion. However, if when we get to the public square there are two unequal options, then speech is not free. If you and I only have the option to exercise our right to speak by standing on a platform and raising our voices while 1% of other people have access to a powerful sound system, then our right is greatly diminished. That is case today.
- There are many people working to change Citizens United either through legislation or constitutional amendment. They are doing the right thing. However, they will not be successful for at least a decade. The truth as it exists today is that conservatives/Republicans will do everything they can to obstruct these efforts. And why wouldn't they. Any Republican who wants to be a viable presidential candidate only needs to audition for a few aspirin-wielding billionaires. Two of the current presidential contenders are able to stay in the race because one or two wealthy supporters have thrown millions at Super PACs. The votes needed to pass federal legislation and/or pass an amendment don't exist. The Supreme Court would need to change dramatically. Citizens United is going to be with us for some time.
- A recent poll indicated that for the first time a majority of Americans say it does not matter who runs for Congress--53% state they will not be represented. Voters (who eventually will become non-voters) believe the system is stacked against them. If Democrats could overcome this disillusion by convincing the public that our government is not for sale, then the actual impact of Citizens United would be positive because it would make clear who candidates listen to. The actual citizens of this country don't want to elect candidates based on how much money their rich supporters spend, they want to elect folks who will truly represent them. If Democrats are willing to do that, Citizens United won't need to be reversed by amending the Constitution.