I CERTAINLY FEEL UNITED

Posted in Quick Hits on June 6th, 2012 by Ed

More than two years ago, this is what I had to say about Citizens United:

Now in the wake of Citizens United vs. FEC plenty has been said about the folly of corporate personhood and the opened floodgates courtesy of the patriotic, non-activist majority on the Supreme Court. There appears to be widespread consensus that this is a bad thing. This is all correct, of course, but here is the thing: you have no idea how fucking ridiculous this is going to get in 2012. We will look back on 2008 as a simpler time.

A decent guess is impossible to generate since we are in uncharted waters from this point forward. An obvious guess would be another 100% increase; I think that will be a baseline. The campaigns themselves will double the $1.5 billion spent by all contenders in 2008. How much will corporate groups – not to mention various other tax code loophole groups – toss on the fire? Another $3 billion seems like a reasonable guess, equal to the amount that the candidates spend on the books. I think that's an understatement. $10 billion? $20 billion? More? It's not out of the question. I could just be a pessimist, but I think we are in for something so grotesque and ridiculous that we'll scarcely be able to grasp it.

Given what just happened in Wisconsin, I think we're beginning to get a clearer picture of what elections will look like when conducted in the midst of a tsunami of unregulated corporate money. Did money make a difference in the outcome? That's hard to say definitively. But we certainly are entering uncharted waters and if we needed yet another way to make the electoral process seem rigged, inaccessible, and futile to the ordinary voter, rest assured that we have found it.