CNN: “Can 46 rich dudes buy an election?”

The answer of course is a resounding yes:

Critics argue that the eye-popping size of donations from individuals raise important questions about their motivations and the ability of the wealthy to influence candidates and the election.

“American elections are funded by a very narrow range of special interests, and that has the effect of making our democracy look a lot more like a plutocracy,” Ryan said.

The floodgates of unlimited spending were opened by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which placed individuals and corporations on equal “free speech” footing when it comes to independent campaign spending.

The high court’s decision allowed super PACs to raise unlimited sums of money from corporations, unions, associations and individuals, then spend unlimited sums to overtly advocate for or against political candidates.

Thomas Mann, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that it is difficult to discern the motivations of super-wealthy donors. Are they driven by ideology, economic interests, or some combination of the two?

It’s a combination of both, but seeing as we have always had a system that is at best a pay to play plutocracy, the election financing boils down to a financial battle royal between the richest fascist and socialist ideologues. The fact that both sides have so willingly embraced the shadowy organizational methods of Super PACs just shows how little difference there is between the two when it comes to protecting their own demands for operational privacy.

One could hope that a few of them believe this concept to be universal (aside from said public servants).

Even Ron “13th floor of politics” Paul scores a mention for Silicon Valley venture capitalist and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel’s donations of $2.6 million to the Ron Paul super PAC.

What’s sad is that this could actually work to break the back of media monopolies, as these cash machines slosh advertising money into Congressional races, exploiting low voter knowledge of candidates:

In the end, the most notable affect of super PACs might not be on the presidential race, but rather on Congressional elections.

Mann and Dunbar both expressed worry about the use of super PAC money in House and Senate races, where relatively small amounts of money can have an outsized impact.

“An individual donor and a super PAC could go off to some district in Kentucky and just completely destroy some candidate because he doesn’t favor what’s good for your business,” Dunbar said.

Alas, CNN doesn’t actually name all forty six “rich dudes” but thanks to Super PACs we can name one literal “Mr. Smith goes to Washington” who benefited just recently from some of these benevolent millionaires: William Smith of Cincinnati, Ohio — a truck driver who lives with his mom that recently won a primary election after one measly $250 robocall (my estimate is intentionally high, I’ve sourced several options since then). I doubt any of the “46 rich dudes” were involved directly in this instance, but it’s symptomatic of how one player is able to create large tumultuous swaths of change.

In the end, it should obviously still come down to one man, one vote — and every citizen owes his patriotic pride in being a rational informed voter or simply abstaining from the freak show of false authority.

But with modern progress inexorably grinding forward it’s always amazing to see the efficiency in which the many people are being moved to action by so few, and for so cheap.

posted by vforvandyke · tags: , , ,

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