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Friday, October 28, 2016

WASHINGTON — For those who believe money already has too much power in American politics, 2012 will be a miserable year. The Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, lassitude at the Federal Election Commission and the growing audacity of very rich conservatives have created a new political system that will make the politics of the Gilded Age look like a clean government paradise.

Americans won’t even fully know what’s happening to them because so much can be donated in secrecy to opaque organizations. It’s always helpful for voters to know who is trying to buy an election, and for whom. This time, much of the auction will be held in private. You can be sure that the candidates will find out who helped elect them, but the voters will remain in the dark.

We do know that the playing field this year is tilted sharply to the right. Journalists often focus on the world of rich liberals in places such as Hollywood and Silicon Valley. But there are even more conservative millionaire and billionaire donors who hail from less mediagenic places. There is, for example, a lot of oil money in Texas. Then there’s Wall Street. Once a bountiful source of Democratic as well as Republican cash, it has shifted toward the party of Mitt Romney, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell.

Republicans argue that turnabout is fair play. Barack Obama shunned the public financing system in 2008 and vastly outspent John McCain. Democrats, they say, are complaining now because they are at a disadvantage.

That’s at best half right. It’s true that Obama struck a blow against public financing, though the system was insufficiently financed and would eventually have collapsed under its own weight. And four years ago, Obama filled his coffers through the regulated system that limited the size of contributions and required disclosure. This year, there are no guardrails, no limits on what can be raised and spent. A remarkably small number of very wealthy people will be able to do what hasn’t been done for generations.

  • William Deutschlander

    My freind, when the “conservatives” already own the so called supreme court and are purchasing most of the rest of the governing structure, your wish for the restoration of DEMOCRACY has already been superceded by AUTOCRACY!

    Unfotunately of the 33% of citizens registered republicans, 30% of them were screwed just like the other 67% of the citizenry!

  • howa4x

    If there is any one major reason Obama needs to be re elected it’s to assure not one more conservative judge gets appointed to the supreme court. The justices are trying to turn back the clock based on religious reasons which violate the constitution.The majority is trying to fix the election, like they did for Bush II so Romney wins and the 1% stay in power. Some of them need to be impeached!

  • Its not fair to demonize all of the 1%’ers. Many billionaires like Warren Buffet are respectable worthy people whose reputation may be forever tarnished by egg-sucking, chicken stealing gutter trash such as Koch Bros, Sheldon Atelson, and Joe Ricketts among others.

    • rustacus21

      Warren Buffet is about policy. Lets be clear. Donors hiding behind their ‘secrecy’ provision in the manic Citizens United decision, we understand they are about nothing but ideology, greed & injustice. Apologizing for a criminal is not very bcoming of people of any intelligence. & its a ‘crime’ the ‘madness’ some of these billionaires are spouting about the “fanciful”, “imagined” or “perceived” “damage” President Obama has (none confirmed YET!!!) done or plans (as ‘they’ see it, in their own twisted psycho world-view) to do… I shake my head in bewilderment as I type these words & consider there are millions of Americans who voted 4 Bush R ready 2 do it again, w/Romney; that 2 consecutive conservative sabotage jobs wasn’t convincing enuff? I didn’t say it w/U’r eloquence “BigSpender”, but thank U 4 helping point the wayward in an enlitened direction… After 2001-2009, there’s not much left, but it’s all the Democracy we have… LEFT…

  • SaneJane

    At least they are pumping some money into the economy. All those millions could still be just sitting there earning for these people but this way they are putting it in circulation. Media of every stripe must be raking in the dough for all this advertising. However, it may put more strain on our mental health system because of the large number of people who will surely be driven insane by all the ads.

    • I agree that bad billionaires spending more money is, by itself, a good thing. But the result of the misleading/lying ads they pay for only serve to confuse the unwary and do affect the outcome of elections. It also enables them to control their preferred politicians and others which serves to benefit them directly, particularly when it comes to tax policy. The “mother superior” of this group is Grover Norquist.

      • SaneJane

        My comments were a little tongue-in-cheek. I agree with you that the current situation is very bad for our country and Norquist and Citizens United are behind the wheel.

      • dawnspirits

        he’s a mother something thats for sure

    • DurdyDawg

      You forgot to mention that the pumping is all generated around the well to do that when they receive it, they also sit on it. The only way we’ll see money circulating will come when the middle class goes back to work.. they are this nation’s only salvation.

  • dawnspirits

    … and since those billionaires own many of the media radio and tv stations all of the revenues from paying for airtime go straight back in to their pockets — so it really costs them nothing

  • DurdyDawg

    Yes, E.J., it’s called democracy but the pubs insist on calling it a Republic, even hiding their own addiction.. Capitalism. And another thing.. Although it has become corrupt in it’s own right (and which institution doesn’t eventually go radical given time) once the Unions are eliminated (which is a pet project for all corporate pubs and their hopeful leader) the common man will no longer have an advocate in the work place. The moguls will revert back to Hoover’s time and save for the fact that minimum wage is over $7.00 an hour (so far) we would all be set back to 75¢ an hour.. Oh for the good old days. People say the unions are out of date, no longer needed.. They weren’t around when it was necessary to create unions.. They don’t know that industry was the cause for unions and throughout these decades the moguls have been salivating over destroying the people’s voice.. When this happens then all those who said, “Unions are no longer needed” will begin to feel what their great-grandfathers felt working under tyrants for pennies with absolutely no benefits.. I’ll hold back my laughter until that time returns.

  • sigrid28

    Lulled to sleep already by political ad overkill? Treat yourself to a bracing eye-opener by watching HBO’s “Hemingway&Gellhorn.” Just for fun, compare the enormous volume of the repetitious lies now being pumped over the U.S. airways via the right-wing, Republican messaging system–to the anti-communist, fascist propaganda spewing out of room-sized loudspeakers hauled uphill and down over the dusty roads of Spain on the truck beds of pre-World War II military transports. Ask yourself, how can those quaint, goofy-looking trucks have had even the slightest impact? See how gutsy, literate, clever, liberal American war correspondents embedded in the Spanish Civil War, aided by the best film and print technology of the period, were nevertheless caught unawares by the outcome of the Spanish Revolution and blind-sided by the atrocities of the Nazi death camps. And they were willing to get their hands dirty.

  • I just pray enough people are smart enough to see how the GOP is trying to buy this election, not listen to the GOP lies, and vote for Obama. We need him to fix the Koch Brother owned Supreme Court or we will all be doomed and at the mercy of the heartless ulta wealthy.

  • rbtemsn

    Even though I am unhappy about large contributors being able to spend with no limits on political advertising, the fact is that many voters are getting more savvy about propaganda and realize what the truth actually looks like. Especially when there are debates and the candidates speak their minds and get off-script. That kind of tells you who you are voting for. I decided to vote against George Bush Sr. because of a remark he made during the debate against Clinton, when I realized that President Bush did not understand how the recession affected working people. I suspect Romney will follow in those same footsteps. His world insulates him from the truth, and when that becomes obvious to people who are struggling, my guess is they will not find him representative of their interests.

  • rustacus21

    I’m not sure if there’s any reason to celebrate, especially considering the whole hog total of donations are still going to conservatives, producing the garbage paraded across WI during the recall. That money translates into “impact” is scary stuff – especially since fox has the ‘eyes’ & ‘minds’ of so many Americans who lack critical thinking skills already! Secret ‘warrants’; secret ‘tribunals’; secret ‘spies’ informing on Americans from the highest to the lowest levels of society; secret ‘government’? This is what the ‘secrecy’ surrounding big donors will impact. I could almost swear we went thru this & resolved NEVER to have to deal w/it again… In July of 1776? I could be wrong… Or mayB conservative voters are, but not both of us!!!