“The most expensive election in American history drew to a close this week with a price tag estimated at more than $6 billion, propelled by legal and regulatory decisions that allowed wealthy donors to pour record amounts of cash into races around the country,” the New York Times reported. “But while outside spending affected the election in innumerable ways — reshaping the Republican presidential nominating contest, clogging the airwaves with unprecedented amounts of negative advertising and shoring up embattled Republican incumbents in the House — the prizes most sought by the emerging class of megadonors remained outside their grasp. President Obama will return to the White House in January, and the Democrats have strengthened their lock on the Senate.”
Money doesn’t buy elections. This was demonstrated in the Republican primaries, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s vast campaign war chest couldn’t lift his chances, but it was shown even more starkly last week.
“The election’s most lavishly self-financed candidate fared no better. Linda E. McMahon, a Connecticut Republican who is a former professional wrestling executive, spent close to $100 million — nearly all of it her own money — on two races for the Senate, conceding defeat on Tuesday for the second time in three years,” the Times noted.
Of course, mere facts haven’t stopped some from decrying the Citizens United decision and its consequences.
That’s what he said before the election. And after?
“Unlimited contributions and secret money in American politics have resulted in the past in scandal and the corruption of government decisions,” he said on Nov. 7. “This will happen again in the future.”
But it didn’t happen.
For one thing, the rules were the same for everyone. There’s perception that Citizens United helps Republicans, but the reality is it merely opens up corporate coffers for everyone. Democrats raised plenty of cash from unions and corporations friendly to Obama.
As for “corruption of government decisions,” as Wertheimer warns, that’s a problem that dates back much further than the 2010 Citizens United decision. As long as there have been elections and political campaigns, there has been corruption.
Indeed, we’re the first to admit, as Winston Churchill said in 1947, “Democracy is the worst form of government — except for all those others.”
The dire predictions about elections being bought by corporate interests didn’t come true. Americans still made up their own minds.