Billion-Dollar Bust?

POLITICO.com is running a series on how big money and Citizens United affected the 2012 elections. Their editorial conclusion is that ultimately “it may have hurt Republicans almost as much as it helped.”

David clearly stood up to Goliath this time around. It was Obama’s legendary ground game versus the Koch Brothers’ billions. But the need to frame our political process as such a financial battle is regrettable. Citizens United lives, and ultra-wealthy contributors are not going away. If anything, 2012 was just a litmus test for how far the American public will go to match PAC spending, dollar-by-dollar. I expect that the same PACs will up the ante in 2016 if Citizens United and corporate personhood are still in place. Such a financial battle is one that our greater democracy ultimately cannot win.

In California, the failure of Proposition 37 (genetic food labeling law) has shown how, if properly executed, big money can in fact sway an election. In the weeks before Nov 7th, polls showed Prop 37 leading decisively, yet on election day it was decisively defeated after a coordinated barrage of media ads designed to confuse or perhaps frighten voters.

Given all we have just witnessed, campaign finance and voting reform are more critically important than ever. At the grassroots level, I encourage all to participate in conversations and legal actions needed to end financial manipulation of our elections.

References

The Billion-Dollar Buy: The billion-dollar bust? – POLITICO.com

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