Class Warfare Blog

April 7, 2011

The Madness of Outsider Money

Filed under: Politics — Steve Ruis @ 2:09 pm
Tags: , , , ,

We have just seen a small state election, that of Supreme Court Justice of the State of Wisconsin, provide the latest example of the idiocy of allowing free reign to outsider political donations. Late in the election, due to the role Wisconsin’s high court may play in deciding the legality of Wisconsin Republican’s union-busting bill, people from outside of the state of Wisconsin sent $3.5 million dollars to the campaigns of the two candidates ($1.3 million to Kloppenburg, $2.2 million to Prosser). So, I have to ask again, why do we allow outsiders to affect our local elections?

I am not from Wisconsin, I should have no say in who they decide should have offices that affect only residents of that state. Such donations, currently legal, are influence pedaling pure and simple. They are an attempt to influence an election for an office that has no jurisdiction over any of those outside donors. And, too often, those with the most money win.

The legality of such monies, recently expanded by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow corporations unlimited spending on political activities, is destroying our democracy. The mechanism for doing so is clear. Some extremely wealthy people bought a large number of conservative think tanks some years ago. Not surprisingly these think tank’s positions soon became aligned with those of their big money donors. (Rep. Paul Ryan’s new budget proposal was drawn up substantially by some of these “free market” think tanks, for example. For another, over 90% of the books written opposed to taking any action to deal with the issue of climate change came from such think tanks.) Next, lobbying and campaign donations got ramped up to make sure that certain key candidates got elected. The next thing we know is that Republican governors and legislatures around the country are all actively disempowering unions, an issue none of them ran on. Is this a coincidence? Hardly. Unions tend to be left-leaning and supportive of Democratic candidates. Gut the unions, and you have cut off the major source of funding to Democratic candidates. Then by buying massive amounts of radio and TV air time (Remember the “Fairness Doctrine?” It was considered unnecessary government regulation.), the message of Democratic candidates will be drowned out and the Republicans, and their wealthy masters, will rule pretty much in perpetuity. This is the method in the madness.

Does no one else see this? Why are we letting them do this to us?

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