That’s what the US Supreme Court just about guaranteed Thursday in its decision to overturn limits on corporate financing of campaign ads.
The court overturned two earlier decisions and threw out parts of a 63-year-old law that said companies and unions can be prohibited from using money from their general treasuries to produce and run their own campaign ads urging the election or defeat of particular candidates by name. The decision, which applies to independent spending that is not coordinated with candidates, threatens similar limits imposed by 24 states.
The justices also struck down part of the landmark McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill that barred union- and corporate-paid issue ads in the closing days of election campaigns.
There will be now be no limits to what powerful special interest groups– corporations, non-profits and unions– can contribute to American political campaigns.
Granted that to some degree unions and non-profits might offset the interests of corporations, this still empowers the already powerful.
Instead of limiting the influence of special interest groups, SCOTUS have just given them raw financial power and also the license to speak, through their purses, for all their employees or members.
Imagine also the power of the oil industry versus the ability of grassroots environmental groups to raise money and buy political advertising.
The relative power of the extraction industries on this basis alone is staggering. Think also about the vast might and special powers of the insurance industry.
The impact of special interest soft money combined with scaremongering and outright lies, working 24/7 against any kind of progress– even the recognition that our planet is in trouble and tens of millions of ordinary Americans lack basic health insurance– was bad enough already.
Now what chance do we have against these huge machines when they’re given unlimited financial power to influence elections?
How can we voters now create a truly representative government of, by and for the people?