General Question

janbb's avatar

Has the recent Supreme Court decision on unlimited campaign financing dealt the final death blow to USA democracy?

Asked by janbb (43548 points ) April 3rd, 2014

Please read the link before responding.

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53 Answers

syz's avatar

It’s time for a revolution.

Cruiser's avatar

I hate the whiners on both sides. Where were all the whiners when Obama spent more than a small fortune on getting re-elected??

janbb's avatar

I’m not going to debate individual candidates or parties but it is one thing if a candidate collects a limited amount of money from a lot of people or if a few people or corporations can buy candidates and elections.

KNOWITALL's avatar

It’s not good and it means they’re all sell-outs.

filmfann's avatar

I pay little attention to political advertising. If Zillionaires want to spend money on their political pretty boys, let them. It puts more money into the economy.

janbb's avatar

@Cruiser I am for publicly financed campaigns for both sides.

ragingloli's avatar

No.
There are many more blows to come.
@filmfann
Not the issue.
The issue is that because every candidate has to beg for money to run his/her campaign, these unlimited donations mean that they will have to pander to the corporations.
By the time you get to vote, any candidates that are up for election are already deep in the pockets of the new aristocracy, and whether you vote for them or not, they will do their kings’ bidding, not yours.

Blondesjon's avatar

Yes.

tthat’s all I have

KNOWITALL's avatar

Unfortunately, @ragingloli is correct. The government will essentially work for corporations.

Coloma's avatar

This is why “we the people” is an archaic and long gone notion. Kind of like the bear flag of CA. when there hasn’t been a brown bear in the state for over 100 years. haha
There are no “people” only corporate manipulation. This is why I do not vote and am apolitical. It’s all rigged and our votes have not a whit of clout in the big picture. To think your vote really matters is an illusion.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

As your link states, this ruling increases the money given directly to candidates and political parties instead of shadowy Super PACs. I am not sure the ruling signals the death of our democracy. Our democracy has been awash with money for a very long time. PACs aren’t brand new. They’ve existed now for a few decades. Their work is nefarious.

I, personally, am less vulnerable to political advertising, because I watch no television. I do not see political advertising at all. I also know how to think critically. I know how to digest fact from manipulative rhetoric from all angles. I know how to spot lies, and when I hear something that feels off, I know how to search for the answers.

I agree that all campaigns at all levels of government should be publicly financed. I also believe all political advertising should be banned. I believe that voters should be taught to think critically to separate factual ideas from lying rhetoric. We should listen to candidates the way an employer listens to a potential employee at a job interview.

I am a socialist. I like democracy. I believe that government is an honorable institution, and it serves many valuable functions from erecting street lights to feeding the hungry wherever they are.

I am also an optimist. I believe that humans are improving on the whole. Statistics prove crime is decreasing. More people are able to eat properly today than ever before.

I think it’s all too easy to make statements broadly categorizing yesterday’s ruling as the death of democracy. I want to work to fix what is broken in the USA. I do my part. I listen to political candidates. I inform myself. I think. I vote accordingly.

bolwerk's avatar

This is greatly more asshole than it is effective. Even before Shitizens United, there was little “democracy” in the USA to speak of. Participation in a duopoly was already mandatory to have a say, and those who lost a horse race never get representation anyway. And the system is designed so that the less popular party can always win.

The difference is a little more power to bolster favorable candidates. It’s not going to have a big effect. SuperPACs are much more effective at getting FUD out there.

@Cruiser: what whiners exactly? You can’t win without spending “more than a small fortune.” I disagree with the rules of the game, but everyone has a right to follow them.

Jaxk's avatar

Let’s see, more money allows the candidate to get his/her message to more people. Somehow that is viewed as a bad thing. I think the rumors of the world ending are vastly overstated.

ragingloli's avatar

@Jaxk
Are you familiar with the concept of bribery?

Coloma's avatar

Seriously…anyone that actually thinks any politician is anything more than a glorified sociopath is delusional. For every one, truly decent representative, and most end up caving to corruption there are a dozen or more that are only in it for the fame, self glorification and money. Politics are a joke, and the jokes on us!

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Essentialy nothing has changed except candidates don’t have to be burdened with hiding the fact that they are bought or have to launder money as much now.

We need fixed amounts set aside for each candidate paid by taxes. Tv ads, robo calls and other solicitation must stop. It should be debates and debates only. Each candidate should get a webside that show their criminal records, resume and other such status. The media should be only allowed to relay this information and poll results. No speculation or muckraking.

bolwerk's avatar

It’s especially bad when there is a correlation between how authoritarian a candidate is and how much money s/he has access to.

But we already had that system in place. This just formalized it.

KNOWITALL's avatar

@Jaxk Back in the day, miners (for example) had no rights to work in safe conditions or earn a living wage because the corporations bought off government officials, we certainly don’t need to go back to that kind of thing. No Republican or Democrat I know wants that.

Winter_Pariah's avatar

As @ragingloli said, there are many more blows to come. But I’d go so far as to say that at least on the Federal level, democracy has been quite dead for a while and all these blows are akin to beating a dead horse.

Jaxk's avatar

@ragingloli

I’ve heard of it. No one has ever tried to bribe me. I guess they don’t care what I think. The donations are typically to support a candidate that supports your position rather than to buy a candidate that does not.

Jaxk's avatar

@KNOWITALL

Not to worry, the mining industry is being systematically destroyed anyway. Miners will soon have no right to work period.

BeenThereSaidThat's avatar

I don’t see anything wrong with it. If Hollywood big shots, and people like George Soro’s can give millions to the politicians they push into office why can’‘t everyone? On a side note, I don’t totally accept at face value anything written in the New York Times. They have been known to exaggerate or out right lie.

Cruiser's avatar

@bolwerk The liberal dems are whining like little schoolgirls over this ruling and once again demonizing the Koch brothers when all along they have the backing of liberal superpacs and the unions. Cry babies all of them.

ragingloli's avatar

leave it to the conservatives to cheer on the destruction of democracy. enemies of freedom, all of them

LostInParadise's avatar

I don’t understand how people are influenced by political ads. Do they really change the way a person is going to vote? The biggest problem is all those who have been supporting right wing candidates against their own interests. Someday, hopefully before the middle class completely disappears, these people are going to come to their senses.

What I find more dangerous is direct kickbacks made to politicians in exchange for political favors, especially jobs given to government regulators, upon leaving office, by the industries they were supposed to regulate. I know that it can be interpreted as someone providing the necessary knowledge required to comply with regulations, but it could equally be seen as a reward for having overlooked violations while in the government.

bolwerk's avatar

@Cruiser‘s argument: demonizing demons is whining. Those libruls should just buy SCOTUS like real Amerikans.

ragingloli's avatar

*amerikkkans

Jaxk's avatar

There seems to be an overriding sentiment that democracy is only possible if it is government controlled. I’m speechless.

ragingloli's avatar

you are b-
No, the sentiment is that democracy is only possible if it is controlled by the people, not multinational corporations and neoaristocrats.

bolwerk's avatar

@Jaxk: well, considering the only viable form of democracy is probably anarchy, I’d say the opposite is true if anything. But if you believe in the state, and state offices being filled at least in some manner by elections, you have no choice but to accept a degree of “government control” of elections.

Cruiser's avatar

@ragingloli I am not cheering on anybody here just pointing out the sheer hypocrisy of the Liberal Democrats. They want their cake and eat it too and then want to take the cake away from the other party in the process. It was their democratic majority SCOTUS that voted for this legislation and now the Dems are crying foul Booo Hooo.

bolwerk's avatar

@Cruiser: I can’t even make sense of that paragraph. Democratic majority SCOTUS voting for legislation?

ragingloli's avatar

It is, of course, and as expected, a lie.
5 of them are repubs, 4 are dems.
It is a republican majority.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

This is not a partisan issue folks.

janbb's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me That’s been my thought too. We’re all hurt by an oligarchy.

bolwerk's avatar

But a certain political party would prefer a one-party state to the current oligarchy. It’s certainly a partisan issue.

Cruiser's avatar

@bolwerk Sorry should have said ruled. Though they do take a vote to issue a ruling.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

Would both parties not want that?

Kropotkin's avatar

Representative “democracies” are designed to be controlled by the rich. The only reason you plebs get to vote at all is because it makes no difference to them.

bolwerk's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me: Democrats can’t even get along with each other, so they probably haven’t gotten to the question of whether extra-party opposition should be allowed to continue.

stanleybmanly's avatar

The decision is just another in the myriad of nails protruding from the coffin of our democracy. What the court has achieved this time is just to further amplify the truth already realized by those who wrangled the issue in front the court to begin with. The decision is perfectly consistent with the previous ruling, and both basically state that the government is and SHOULD BE for sale. Roberts’ come back to this statement, whenever he is confronted with its bluntness, amounts to “So what’s wrong with that?” And there is the problem. There is a numbing obtuse nature to what passes for logic in our country. Corporations are people, and money is speech. If you think about it for a sec, if money is speech, how is eloquence to be determined? In fact, forget about eloquence, and other irrelevancies such as truth or justice. Follow the logic, and arrive at the conclusion. “We” as a people have freedom of speech. Once it is concluded that corporations are people and money is speech, no great leap of intellect is required to appreciate that our democracy is one in which the loudest voice (biggest pile of money) concentrated in a relatively tiny group of people /corporations should and DESERVE to determine our fate. And this is EXACTLY the way things work. To paraphrase Roberts, “so what’s wrong with that?

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

It could be this way with the democrats also but the GOP has completely lost touch with their voting base. I am truly a person without a party at this point as are almost all of my conservative leaning peers. I am seeing more and more average people from both sides politically swing closer to the center. That is a welcome change I.M.O. The politicians and pundits may as well be from a different planet the way they act now.

stanleybmanly's avatar

@LostInParadise It’s important to realize that the current state of affairs would be impossible if people did not vote directly against their own interests. This alone should prove that political ads are indeed successful, or rather that a substantial pile of money can be utilized in convincing voters that their interests magically align with those of the ruling class. And believe me, if it were otherwise, Kropotkin’s dictate above would come immediately to bear.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

It is interesting that no one seems to recognize that the US is not a democracy. Rather, we are a republic (for which it stands, one nation under God) which actually recognizes the existence of God and claims it is this God in whom We Trust.
But forgetting about God and the fact that we are not and have never been a democracy; it would behoove any of you who are actually citizens of the United States (as opposed to United States’ Citizens, which I am not) it would behoove you to go back and study your history of this great nation of ours one more time and this time keep an eye out for the moneyed elite.
I know this is old old stuff and quite yawn boring, but it is an interesting reality which we have accepted as all there is and the best there is to offer.
The founding fathers (and mothers [funny how the women don’t get any real political power until the 1900’s, 240 years after the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution are enacted]) became incensed over the insane King George III treatment of them and theirs.
And so they seceded from Great Britain and started as new country. And they called it the New World Order. I know. Crazy, isn’t it. Apparently the Old World Order was left behind with the Rothchilds.
By now some of you think you know where I’m heading, but I ain’t heading thar.
Next we skip ahead to the Robber Barons. The Tycoons. JP Morgan, Andrew Carnegie, the Rockerfellers, George Peabody… but you know, they are long gone. So who cares.

But they left behind an illegal institution now in charge of all our money. Yes, the Federal Reserve. A completely unconstitutional entity responsible for more Depressions and
Recessions than anyone in power is willing to admit to. Chartered by a Congress which had refused it admittance to the US since 1776, it passed the muster in 1913 during a Christmas break. It apparently passed because only three senators were there and all voted for.

So the real problem isn’t that our crooked politicians now have a legal right to enrich themselves even more; the problem is that we need to get control back from the Fed… and ultimately from our elected officials, who quite often act and vote in complete detriment to their constituents.

Good luck you say? Yes, I agree. it ain’t happening.

So what do we do?

rojo's avatar

No, but it is going to take a constitutional amendment to undo what these bought and paid for activist judges have wrought.

rojo's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me So nor feel alone. There are many of us who have not party to call our own. What we need is a good middle of the road party but the R’s and D’s make sure that no one else is able to play the game.

Kropotkin's avatar

@Dan_Lyons “It is interesting that no one seems to recognize that the US is not a democracy. . . .”

If you want to be technical, the USA is a polyarchy. The USA is also loosely a democracy in the sense in that elected officials are (in theory) representative of the public will. This is what is meant by “democracy” as the media, politicians and much of the public use it—even if it isn’t really democracy.

”. . . Rather, we are a republic (for which it stands, one nation under God) which actually recognizes the existence of God and claims it is this God in whom We Trust.”

“Republic” isn’t much more than a synonym for representative democracy. The rest is nonsense you’ve taken from the Pledge of Allegiance, which has nothing to do with the form of government the US state has.

“But forgetting about God and the fact that we are not and have never been a democracy.”

Except during the colonial era, when direct democracy was practised in various places—notably New England. Direct democracy that had to be suppressed and undermined, to centralise political power in the hands of the rich and propertied, from which you get your precious constitution and “republic”.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

@Kropotkin Some of what you say is true indeed.

However, if you look at the structure of government of the Romans (a Republic), you will see the US government mimics it almost to the “T.”

President = Caesar

Senate = Senate

It’s fairly simple and quite basic.

Kropotkin's avatar

@Dan_Lyons The Roman Republic didn’t have Caesars.

I suppose it is fairly simple and quite basic if one likes to be completely wrong.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

Okay @Kropotkin You got that right.

so instead of the emperor (president), they had the two consuls (president and vice president).

How is that unlike the US government setup?

bolwerk's avatar

A platonic concept of a republic is hierarchical meritocracy, which is functionally somewhere between a benign dictatorship and an oligarchy. @Dan_Lyons is actually right that the U.S. concept of “republic” was modeled heavily on the Roman “res publica,” but the House replaces what was essentially a market rabble and the Senate is rather different (though a lot of the “advice and consent” stuff carries over). I talked about the distinction more here.

But God simply does not meaningfully factor into American republicanism. The only mentions of God in the U.S. constitution are there to separate religion from the federal government or for timekeeping. At the time, of course, the idea was that states could have their own churches, but the federal government was strictly forbidden from establishing religious positions.

Dan_Lyons's avatar

I like how the Duchy of Grand Fenwick was mentioned on your Republic thread.

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