For a long time I thought it was universal from both sides of the political debate that money in politics is a huge problem. To me, it doesn’t seem like a partisan issue to believe that people pumping millions into political campaigns were obviously trying to buy our government.
Or do people really believe that billionaires like the Koch brothers spend hundreds of millions of dollars out of the goodness of their hearts? Of course not. They’re trying to buy elections and handpick who gets elected so that any legislation that might get passed favors their interests.
But it’s not just the Koch brothers who do this. There are big donors that give money to Democrats as well who have this same kind of agenda. Though the Koch brothers have taken it to a whole other level by essentially being the pocketbook behind the entire tea party movement.
Well, recently Harry Reid called for a Constitutional Amendment that would help prevent hundreds of millions of dollars in dark money from continuing to corrupt our political system.
“Amending our Constitution is not something any of us should take lightly, but the flood of special interest money in our American democracy is one of the glaring threats our system of government has ever faced,” Reid said on the Senate floor. “Let’s keep our elections from becoming speculative ventures for the wealthy.”
“The Supreme Court has equated money with speech, so the more money you have the more speech you get, and the more influence in our democracy. That is wrong.” he continued. “Every American should have the same ability to influence our political system. One American, one vote. That’s what the Constitution guarantees. The Constitution does not give corporations a vote, and the Constitution does not give dollar bills a vote.”
And he’s exactly right.
Anyone who argues that money equates to speech is clearly trying to buy something with that “speech.” Speech is speech, not money. You can’t say we’re all given the equal right to free speech then say that people with more money are essentially given a louder voice.
But of course Mitch McConnell quickly sided with the rich and bashed this proposal by Democrats. He issued a statement saying:
“Proposing to take away this fundamental right from the American people and vest it in the federal government instead is the ultimate act of radicalism, and it should concern all Americans who care about their right to speak their minds and to participate freely in the political process. Washington Democrats have shown again and again how determined they are to shut down the voices of anyone who disagrees with them, whether it’s targeting groups through the IRS or looking over the shoulders of reporters at local newspapers and on news radio. But this latest proposal goes beyond everything they’ve attempted previously. No politician from either party is above the Constitution, and this crass attempt by Democrats to shut down any opposition to their plans should be rejected swiftly and decisively by everyone in this country who prizes the free speech rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.”
As I’ve said numerous times, anyone who’s advocating for more money in politics is clearly being bought off by someone. It’s not a shock that almost all Republicans I’ve heard speak out on money in politics favor allowing unlimited amounts of it to flow into political campaigns.
Considering Republicans are essentially nothing more than shills for rich corporations, the wealthy and big oil, it’s no wonder they support rulings that continue to allow the richest among us more direct access in their attempts to buy our government.
Keeping money out of politics should be a non-partisan issue, yet sadly it’s not. Republicans continue to prove time and time again that they want the richest among us to be able to directly buy our elections while opposing any kind of legislation that might prevent them from doing so under the guise of “protecting” the First Amendment.
But our Founding Fathers never meant for money to equate to speech. Speech is speech. It’s the right for every American’s voice to be heard regardless of how much money they have. The only thing more money in politics will do is ensure that the voices of the rich continue to drown out the voices of everyone else.
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