Stop hating Citizens United: It isn't the reason big money has flooded into politics
Added 01-21-20 05:13:02am EST - “Many liberals correctly claim that extreme wealth inequality tends to generate political oligarchy, which in turn is a threat to democracy. It's an observation that has been made at least since Aristotle, and one with which I agree.…” - Nydailynews.com
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Many liberals correctly claim that extreme wealth inequality tends to generate political oligarchy, which in turn is a threat to democracy. It’s an observation that has been made at least since Aristotle, and one with which I agree.
But the question is what causes such political oligarchy and how to remedy it. Most liberals attribute a significant part of the problem to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, which turns 10 years old on Jan. 21, and some have even proposed a constitutional amendment to overturn it. Their assumption is that the Citizens United decision unleashed a torrent of big money on our election system.
But Citizens United did not decide the question of whether individuals could spend unlimited amounts of money to advocate for the election or defeat of candidates for public office. That was a question not even raised by the case. The question of whether individuals like Mike Bloomberg, Sheldon Adelson, Tom Steyer, George Soros or Richard Uihlein, to name a few from both sides of the political spectrum, could legally spend huge amounts of their own money to advocate for or against the election of candidates they favor or oppose was already long-established.
You can argue that individuals shouldn’t have that right, but you can’t attribute it to Citizens United.
Thus, under longstanding prevailing constitutional law, although the government may limit how much individuals may contribute to candidates, it may not limit how much individuals may spend to advocate for their own preferences in an election.
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