How often as an American voter have you wondered, “Are political elections ultimately bought and paid for by big businesses, and does my vote even matter?” Has the image of our, to quote Ronald Reagan from his 1984 Republican Nomination acceptance speech, “shining city on a hill”, become interminably tarnished by corporate influence, and the quid pro quo relationship between business and politics? Within these blog posts, I will research and discuss how America, once the global symbol for democracy, became synonymous with corporate greed, and political corruption. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution grants individuals and corporations the right to support political candidates and parties with financial donations, but to what extent, and should there be a Constitutional amendment to limit these amounts?
The first topic I will begin to tackle is the historical role big business plays in politics from The Civil War to today. Second, I will research and discuss the impact such wars as World War II, Vietnam and Iraq/Afghanistan have on our political and economic system. Finally, I will delve into the rising effect of Political Action Committees, or Super PAC’s, and how recent changes to campaign finance laws impact our democratic system. Specifically, I will address how Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010) was a landmark, yet controversial United States Supreme Court case in which the court upheld the D.C. Circuit’s ruling in Free SpeechNow.org v Federal Election Commission (2009), that the First Amendment prohibited the federal government from restricting independent political expenditures by corporations and labor unions. I will explain my research and opinions through a critical lens, while shedding light on our complex and uniquely American political system.
The impact of free enterprise on modern-day politics is undeniable, and election cycle after election cycle we see that impact increasing. Regarding the Supreme Court’s decision invalidating aggregate campaign contribution limits on an individual during an election cycle, popular comedian and liberal political commentator Bill Maher said: “They say the Constitution was created by geniuses so idiots could run it. I need to amend that. I think the idiots have found a way to break it. I do. I think the idiots have finally won over the geniuses.” Maher took particular aim at Chief Justice John Roberts for decreeing in the 5-4 controlling opinion that giving large sums of money to politicians does not give rise to quid pro quo corruption. Maher went on to state, “Either he is a liar or he is to naïve to hold any important job, including, and especially this one,” he said. “This is like a legal ruling written by the Little Mermaid. Are you crazy?” Now whether you agree with this view or not, you cannot deny there was indeed a fundamental and profound impact.
The main focus of my research and blog posts will explore the effect of Citizens United v. FEC on our election system, and analyze the impact this decision has on campaign expenditures. I will explain my research through incontrovertible historical evidence, including excerpts from the recent Supreme Court Decision, and fact based journalism. My goal is to elicit thoughtful discussion and analysis on the state of our political system and its relationship with big business, while providing historical and fact based evidence to support my opinions.
Other questions I will address:
- Is corruption, broadly understood as placing private interests over the public good in public office, at the root of what ails American democracy, especially as it relates to big business?
- Do wars of conquest have causality running in both directions? Meaning is the evolution of warfare and of world economic history and politics intertwined?
- Should there be a Constitutional Amendment limiting campaign contributions in order to protect individual voting rights?
What are your thoughts and questions?