Worst Democracy Money Can Buy
Wisconsin has spoken and they have said quite clearly that they stand behind their Governor Scott Walker. I have to admit to some disappointment. I’m not moving to Wisconsin any time soon, or later for that matter, so I seriously doubt if the people’s choice will impact me directly. But I do believe that Mr. Walker’s trouncing of his opponent, and with such indisputable poll numbers, sends a clear message that the people in Wisconsin believe that they are on the right track for getting the state’s business back in order.
At least that is what they believe. And I think that’s what they believe because of all the money that was poured into the state to help them formulate that belief. With the help of some deep pocket contributors from outside the state, Mr. Walker was able to outspend his opponent, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, by a margin of seven to one. All of that money went into advertising to convince the people that keeping Mr. Walker was in their best interests. And the people heard the message. And they kept hearing the message enough to actually believe it. Wisconsin will get the best democracy money will buy.
We’ve already seen examples of unfettered money going into our national elections. In the conservative primaries we saw Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum keep their sputtering bids for the White House on life support simply because they had a single donor wealthy enough to give enough money to keep the inevitable at bay. And now that Mitt Romney is the certain conservative contender for the White House, all that conservative money that was sitting on the sidelines for a clear conservative winner is now free to pour itself into the race for President of the United States.
I used to think that you couldn’t buy democracy. But that was before the Citizens United decision from the Supreme Court that said money was free speech. That decision was nothing but a green light to rich people, who are mostly Republican and/or conservative, to buy the candidate of their choice. And one a candidate is bought and paid for it doesn’t take much to conclude that they will be beholden to institute policies to protect the interests of their backers. Thanks to our mostly conservative Supreme Court our government is for sale on the auction block. It looks like we are only at the beginning of a new phase of politics that’s clearly not meant to protect the interest of the American people, and by people I mean the flesh and blood kind and not the corporate kind that owe their existence to a document in a courthouse somewhere. The interests of corporations, both domestic and foreign, will be well represented in our current course of politics.
Sometime in the future we will have a presidential candidate brought to you by Mega X Incorporated with more than ten billion dollars set aside to influence the outcome of an election because Mega X is looking to buy a politician that it can sell to the American people using its free speech.
But free speech isn’t money and money isn’t free speech. Money is a tool that is used to make somebody’s free speech better heard that the next guy. The two should never be confused lest you get people, the flesh and blood kind that sit on the Supreme Court, who think that it’s okay for unlimited money to be spent to influence our elections.
Now there are some people who think that the American people, the flesh and blood kind that can actually vote, are not so easily duped. Money could never sway the individual with strong political convictions and knowledge of the issues at stake. I couldn’t agree with that assessment more. What about all the people who don’t have convictions strong enough to formulate political opinions that can withstand the onslaught of advertising? Now that’s truly a horse of a different color and that color is mean green.
Money is used to push products and services on people. It was the marketing that helped make Coke-a-Cola the number one drink for such a large chunk of people on the planet and ousting water as a beverage. It was advertising that helped to make General Motors the largest car company in the world before people realized how crappy their products were. Consequently, it will be advertising driven by money that will make our future politicians more appealing to the large number of us who rely on commercials to formulate our political onions.
Besides, if you really think about it, if you truly understand the way the President is elected, you would know that the people don’t elect the President. That duty falls on the Electoral College, the men and women the people elect to represent our choice for President but are not required to do so. Just imagine if all the money that would go into wining and dining the electors. Cutting out all that spending for advertising on the voters would be a much more efficient process. It will only be a matter of time before the vast majority of the flesh and blood people will be cut out of the process altogether.