Will no ban on corporate political spending skew elections?

The Supreme Court’s recent decision that the government may not ban political spending by corporations in candidate elections may skew the playing field for future elections.

The First Amendment prohibits the government from regulating speech, especially political speech. Theoretically, the Amendment only applies to citizens, not groups of citizens. In the recent opinion, however, the Supreme seemingly ignored years of precedent and held the First Amendment also applies to groups of citizens – including corporations.

In response, President Obama said “the Supreme Court has given a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics. It is a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans.” 

Obama is on the right track. Corporations should not be considered "groups of citizens." Corporations are run from the top down, and are business entities, not political associations. Corporations are not formed by individuals who possess similar political views and beliefs. Whoever controls a corporation now possesses the power to throw the monetary weight of a corporation behind a candidate.

The ruling is especially disturbing to Democrats. The majority of "big business" is considered Republican. While campaign contributions do not determine who wins an election, there is no doubt that having more a richer campaign fund is an asset. More campaign funds can lead to more ads, which can reach more people, etc. 

It may be impossible to determine the exact consequences of this decision. But there can be little doubt the ruling has changed how elections will proceed in the future.

Justices Overturn Key Campaign Limits | New York Times



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