Give Us Back Our Elections …

One of my pet peeves is the 2010 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Citizens United v Federal Election Commission (FEC), in which the Court ruled that the free speech clause of the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting independent expenditures for political communications by corporations, including nonprofit corporations, labor unions, and other associations.  In a nutshell, it opened the door to unlimited donations by wealthy corporations, such lobbying groups as the NRA, and others to basically buy our politicians.  This is why we have a Congress that is unwilling to enact gun regulations, despite the fact that some 80% of the people in this country are in favour of such things as enhanced background checks and a ban on assault weapons.  This is why our very lives are placed at risk by the rolling back of environmental regulations that are so crucial to preserving life on earth.  And this is why there is an ever-widening income gap between the billionaires and the rest of us who live payday to payday.  And this is why ours is no longer a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’, but rather of, by, and for only the wealthy and powerful people.

I have featured Robert Reich on this blog a few times before.  He is an economist, professor, author, and political commentator. He served in the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. He was Secretary of Labor from 1993 to 1997. He was a member of President Barack Obama’s economic transition advisory board.  He, better than most, understand the inner workings of our government.  Sans partisanship, he explains why we simply must overturn Citizens United, must get the big money out of politics, and return our elections to We the People.  Please take three minutes to watch …

22 thoughts on “Give Us Back Our Elections …

  1. This is why some of us dream about the impossible A Socialist Regime (however once I start to explain how I would organise that ensure these sorts of corrupt opportunists do not get foot in the door, or their foot soldiers folk get a bit worried about the implications down the road)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I agree that the Citizens United decision was one of the worst, most destructive decisions the SCOTUS made in recent years. It turned our whole election process upside down. And until it’s overturned, our corrupt election system will not be repaired.

    Liked by 2 people

    • You are quite right. Even one of the Justices who voted for it at the time, has since said it was among the worst decisions the court has made. The claim was that putting limits on how much a donor could contribute interfered with free speech. I think we may be defining “free speech” a bit too broadly here!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Jill, Reich is right. Getting money out of politics depends on legislators beholden to having money in politics. I would also like to see McCutcheon overturned which permits people who are not in a precinct to use money to influence the election. I saw this morning the NC Senate race should break the previous record. I will have my remote handy to mute.

    In addition to term limits. I would like to make it easier for Independents to run. That will make the parties behave better and stop placating their extremes. Keith

    Liked by 2 people

    • Agreed on McCutcheon … I had forgotten about that one. By all means keep the remote handy … if nothing else, you can always throw it through the screen! 😉

      That is something Jeff (On the Fence Voters) and I were talking about when we first began thinking about a joint project — how we could have a multi-party system — but we had to change direction, for the reality is that our federal election laws make it virtually impossible for any independent or third party to stand a chance. We really do need more than two viable options, though, and I’m sickened by the level of partisanship that seems to dominate everything. The other thing that is working against fair elections is gerrymandering. The Supreme Court had a chance to deal with that on a large scale, and they blew it.


    • Yep, it’s a vicious circle. Retired Justice Kennedy, who voted in favour of Citizens United at the time, has since said it was one of the worst decisions the Supreme Court ever made. While the majority of people in this nation, I believe, would like to see it overturned, I don’t look for that to happen any time soon, especially now that the Court has a conservative majority, some of whom seem to have no conscience.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. In the UK the Conservatives secure something like 26x more big money donations than the other parties. It’s not a level playing field and opens up our politics to abuse. This is on top of a heavily rigged media setup. Our democracies have never been that perfect but they have become broken in recent times.

    Liked by 5 people

    • You’re so right … there is no level playing field. That notion that “anyone can become president” is pure, unfettered B.S., for these days only those with connections to wealth stand a chance. Something needs to change, and fast.

      Liked by 2 people

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