Besides raising the money stakes, these right wing funded super PACs such as, the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity, have taken their misinformation machine even further since 2010. The independent site Politifact fact-checked multiple Americans for Prosperity attack-ads, and found eleven were inaccurate, with only two being deemed to be even “half true.” Besides the Koch brothers, there is something called the “Franklin Center”. The Franklin Center is a multimillion-dollar republican funded and staffed organization that provides free reporting to local newspapers and through their own websites. The Franklin Center proudly advertises their ability to “fill the media void created by local and state newsroom layoffs.” I personally find this fact utterly outrageous, because in effect, they are a right wing lobbying group funneling distorted half-truths and lies thru a faux news operation.
As independent newsrooms fall by the wayside and ride off into oblivion, facts and truths are being replaced with lies and deceptive half-truths by these conservative groups. It has come to the point where the average American can’t disseminate the difference between agenda pushing, or fact based reporting. These conservative mega-donors aim to break unions, kill estate taxes, and win the White House at any cost. These dark money conservative groups, to the complete horror of many, have begun to work together in order to prevent another democrat, namely Hillary Clinton from occupying the Oval Office come 2017. The American political system has descended into this disjointed wreck, where the interests of corporations and billionaires are heard, and the rest of our voices are drowned out.
So how do leading democratic presidential candidates such as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders plan to counter this big money battle come next election cycle? According to a recent Washington Post report, when Hillary Clinton announced she was running for president again, she told supporters her aim was to “appoint Supreme Court justices who would overturn the 2010 Citizens United decision.” If this comes to fruition, it would be great news for our democracy, but the issue goes much deeper than this one 2010 court case. Justices appointed by the next president need to transform their entire approach to political funding. The next democratic-friendly court needs to start by reevaluating cases such as Buckley, the case that gave us the questionable principle that “money is speech.” To take this even further, the next Supreme Court needs to outline a broader set of values. The Court should come up with more compelling reasons to limit big money donations. They need to layout actionable laws that would guarantee all American voters have an equal voice in the political process, and promote a system of government that is accountable to all voters, not just a few billionaires.
Politicians on both sides of the aisle lobbying for such changes should be lauded for recognizing the damage Citizens United and Buckley has done, even while they campaign in the broken system the current Roberts Court created. If the Supreme Court can reverse poor decisions such as racial segregation and LGBT rights, they can surely readdress this modern day judicial disaster.
What are your thoughts? Should the Supreme Court re-visit Citizens United and Buckley, or should they be allowed to stand?