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By David Lightman, McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — Senators return Monday from their summer recess and plan to take up a constitutional amendment to limit big money in campaigns.

It’s expected to ultimately fail, and a big reason is Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans are wary of the measure.

McConnell argued in a Politico op-ed that “Democrats who control the Senate say they’re more interested in repealing the free speech protections the First Amendment guarantees to all Americans. Their goal is to shut down the voices of their critics at a moment when they fear the loss of their fragile Senate majority. And to achieve it, they’re willing to devote roughly half of the remaining legislative days before November to this quixotic anti-speech gambit.”

The Kentucky Republican predicted the measure “won’t even come close to garnering the votes it would need to pass. But to many Democrats, that’s just the point. They want this proposal to fail because they think that somehow would help them on Election Day — they think it will help drive to the polls more left-wing voters who don’t like having to defend their ideas.”

Democrats have rallied behind the amendment.

“James Madison argued that the U.S. Constitution should be amended only on ‘great and extraordinary occasions,’ ” said Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) in June when he introduced an amendment.

“I believe we have reached one of those occasions. Our elections no longer focus on the best ideas, but the biggest bank accounts, and Americans’ right to free speech should not be determined by their net worth.”

AFP Photo/Win Mcnamee

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