EJ Dionne has written a very nice column about Fighting Big Money With Big Money.
We have become complacent that the fight for our society has become a battle by big donors. The rest of us are simply pawns to be manipulated by the Oligarchs. I'm glad that we at least have some rich people who support some of the same causes many of the rest of us support, but we ALL have a right to decide what issues are important and which politicians will support those issues.
The SCOTUS should never be forgiven for the democracy busting Citizens United.
... imagine that you also believe the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision was a disaster for representative government because a narrow majority broke with long precedent and tore down the barriers to corporate money in politics. The decision also encouraged the super-rich to drop any inhibitions about using their wealth to push their own political agendas.We need a new Supreme Court to overturn the radicalism of these abusive conservative courts.
The Supreme Court has stuck us with an unsavory choice. If the only moneyed people giving to politics are pushing for policies that favor the wealthy, we really will become an oligarchy. For now, their pile of dough needs to be answered by progressive rich people who think oligarchy is a bad idea.
But playing the game as it’s now set up should not blind anyone to how flawed its rules are. Politics should not be reduced to a contest between liberal rich people and conservative rich people. A donor derby tilts politics away from the interests and concerns of the vast majority of Americans who aren’t wealthy and can’t write checks of a size that gets their phone calls returned automatically. A Citizens United world makes government less responsive, less representative and more open to corruption.
Two who haven’t are Reps. David Price (D-N.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), sponsors of the Empowering Citizens Act. It would provide a 5 to 1 match from public funds for contributions of $250 or less, thus establishing strong incentives for politicians to rely on smaller donors while offering the rest of us a fighting chance against the billionaires. Harnessed to new technologies, this approach could vastly expand the number of citizens who are regular contributors. Similar reforms are being proposed at the state level in New York, and Obama’s organization says it will push to get them passed.
Until Citizens United is overturned, as it should be, the best way out of our dilemma is to democratize the money game.