#1 Edited by pyrodactyl (2464 posts) -

So in a recent ruling of the US supreme court, the chief justice wrote (paraphrasing):

  • Laws can't limit the amount of money people or corporations can give to politicians and the government can't legislate to limit the ''gratitude'' and ''access'' given by politicians to generous donators
  • ''It is not an acceptable governmental objective to level the playing field'' or to equalize the resources of political candidates

Full quotes here from 14:00 along with the complete analysis (CS with Dan Carlin, the guy who does Hardcore History):

http://ec.libsyn.com/p/8/0/c/80ce17a585c82e5a/cswdcc73.mp3?d13a76d516d9dec20c3d276ce028ed5089ab1ce3dae902ea1d01c1813ed6cb588e9b&c_id=7045370

To be clear, the decision of the supreme court was targeting a single law that limit the amount you can give to all political candidates in a year but it's by exposing their reasoning for ruling against this law that they wrote the quotes pulled above.

I find this stuff fascinating. How can your perspective be so warped as to declare that politicians giving more gratitude and access to the people that give them the most money is totally fine?

And this is not just one person. A majority (5 to 4) of supreme court judges were in agreement with this reasoning. Mind blowing.

#2 Posted by Nictel (2626 posts) -

Weren't or aren't most supreme court judges politicians themselves? Ever since the whole Gore vs Bush election debacle where Bush had elected his friends as judges I have little faith in the whole US justice system.

#3 Posted by Broomhitches (169 posts) -

I recall someone on this site saying something along the lines of having politicians wear corporate logos like NASCAR racers. That's a pretty apt suggestion.

#4 Posted by Random45 (1368 posts) -

Well, considering lobbying is legal and is totally not bribery, I guess this depressingly makes sense.

#5 Posted by Animasta (14753 posts) -

Was in the conservative wing + kennedy?

#6 Posted by RollingZeppelin (2240 posts) -

I recall someone on this site saying something along the lines of having politicians wear corporate logos like NASCAR racers. That's a pretty apt suggestion.

they should just take it to it's logical conclusion and build giant video billboards on the Senate, House of Congress and White House. "Your government is brought to you by the EXTREME taste of Mountain Dew™".

#7 Edited by joshwent (2522 posts) -

If any American has a problem with this, here's a really easy fix:

STOP voting for Republicans and Democrats. Entirely. To be totally clear, this isn't really corruption, because candidates are still required to disclose every group that donates to them. Corruption is when policies are made that favor a certain group which has secretly given money to a policy maker. The two major parties just blatantly and publicly support their donors and insist on policies that favor them. So in 2016, check out where all the Rep's and Dem's fucked up money comes from, shake your head disapprovingly, and go vote for someone else.

Let them waste their Billions every 2 and 4 years. Let them get all the cash from all the fucked up places. But just make damn fucking sure you stop letting them take office.

#8 Edited by pyrodactyl (2464 posts) -

@joshwent: Don't know why overt and transparent corruption wouldn't be classified as corruption. They still receive money to listen to specific concerns and enact laws accordingly. I mean, maybe it's not corruption in US law but it is if you read a dictionary.

#9 Edited by ShadowSkill11 (1879 posts) -

I believe a gross oversimplication of the latest judgement had to do with free speech. We can't tell Neo nazis, the KKK, or Fox News to shut up so why can we tell political parties to shut up by taking away their money?

#10 Posted by SomeJerk (3498 posts) -
#11 Edited by Colourful_Hippie (4647 posts) -
@joshwent said:

To be totally clear, this isn't really corruption, because candidates are still required to disclose every group that donates to them. Corruption is when policies are made that favor a certain group which has secretly given money to a policy maker.

More like legal corruption, but it wouldn't matter that much anyways if this wasn't even a thing in the first place because corps can still funnel their money anonymously through super PAC's.

#12 Edited by JasonR86 (9753 posts) -

@shadowskill11:

Wow, Fox News is up there with the KKK and Neo Nazis huh?

#14 Edited by Viking_Funeral (2012 posts) -

@joshwent said:
STOP voting for Republicans and Democrats.

The problem with a first-past-the-post voting system is that it inevitably leads to 2 major parties. Once those parties come into power, it is usually in their interest to maintain power, and form laws and systems to do so. It's not as easy as actively not voting, which over 40% of the population already does.

This political system was naively designed without acknowledging the force of political parties in politics. It is also one of the earliest modern forms of democracy, and has done very little to update itself over the last few centuries. I find that incredibly ironic, seeing as we're nation obsessed with the economic notion that better ideas will rise to the top through competition. Then again the Economic Darwinists are politically entrenched with the Anti-Darwinism in Science crowd, so irony is abound.

What would be best would be a proportional democracy, a system where people vote for political parties and the percentages dictate how many seats each party gets. Sure, the people no longer get to vote directly for representatives, but most people vote on party lines anyway, so there wouldn't be a major difference. It's already worked out well in many more modern democracies.

But, like I said, those in power are entrenched, and control the laws of the land that allow them to remain entrenched. Change is not going to happen. A comfortable populace does not revolt.

#15 Edited by Veektarius (5115 posts) -

I think the Supreme Court ruled correctly. It may not be the outcome we want, but it is not the purview of the Supreme Court to revise the constitution.

Edit: It's a sign of how broken our system is that people's only hope for change in our laws is that a few constitutional scholars chosen by fiat will find it in themselves to read a centuries old document in such a way that it magically anticipates the problems we perceive in the modern world and resolves them in a way we would consider progressive.

#16 Posted by JasonR86 (9753 posts) -
#17 Posted by Colourful_Hippie (4647 posts) -

I think the Supreme Court ruled correctly. It may not be the outcome we want, but it is not the purview of the Supreme Court to revise the constitution.

They don't have to revise the constitution, just their interpretation of it which sadly won't happen again for a long time.

#18 Posted by joshwent (2522 posts) -

@joshwent said:
STOP voting for Republicans and Democrats.

The problem with a first-past-the-post voting system is that it inevitably leads to 2 major parties. Once those parties come into power, it is usually in their interest to maintain power, and form laws and systems to do so. It's not as easy as actively not voting, which over 40% of the population already does.

Totally right, Which is why I didn't advocate to stop voting altogether, but rather to vote for candidates from alternative parties. Only with wider representation from other parties can we even begin to try and change the flawed voting system.

#19 Edited by realkman (70 posts) -

@joshwent: I was taught that there are two parties, and I'm sure most people don't know there are alternatives to these superstars of corruption.

#20 Posted by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

@joshwent said:

Only with wider representation from other parties can we even begin to try and change the flawed voting system.

But doesn't the flawed voting system prevent wider representation?

#21 Posted by MooseyMcMan (11587 posts) -

I'm not gonna lie, I think arbitrary limits on campaign donations and whatnot are un-American. People should have the right to donate what they want, even if the makes the system horribly unfair and corrupt.

#22 Posted by leebmx (2236 posts) -

I'm not gonna lie, I think arbitrary limits on campaign donations and whatnot are un-American. People should have the right to donate what they want, even if the makes the system horribly unfair and corrupt.

By that reasoning American = horribly unfair and corrupt. That is a pretty sad indictment of the state of US democracy. I think the US system is wonderful in lots of ways, but the limitations the constitution is imposing on the fair running of the country are starting to show. It seems great as a philosophical expression of how a country should be governed but its intentions are being stretched to their limits by decisions like this

If doing things the American way means creating a corrupt and unfair system, I think it is time to re-define what being American should actually mean.

#23 Edited by AlexW00d (6548 posts) -

@mooseymcman said:

I'm not gonna lie, I think arbitrary limits on campaign donations and whatnot are un-American. People should have the right to donate what they want, even if the makes the system horribly unfair and corrupt.

The idea of things being American or un-american is the fucking stupidest thing.

I assume you just mean it's not very liberal? Which doesn't make sense 'cause America as a whole seems conservative as fuck.

Online
#24 Posted by joshwent (2522 posts) -

@joshwent said:

Only with wider representation from other parties can we even begin to try and change the flawed voting system.

But doesn't the flawed voting system prevent wider representation?

Yep. Which is why we are where we are now. As @viking_funeral pointed out, a first past the post system will always lead to two major parties. But despite its glaring flaws, its persistence is largely due to the "Spoiler Effect", where people are discouraged to vote for the candidate that most represents their own values, because they're more afraid of the party with the opposite values winning. So they vote against other parties, rather than voting for who they actually want.

It's eloquently described in this video from CGP Grey:

Without changing the voting system (which will never, ever happen with two powerful main parties), the solution is clear; get over the fear and only vote third party. At the very least, interest shown in alternative views can affect the stances of those stalwart parties.

It's no coincidence that Democrats and even some Republicans are finally budging on legalizing drugs and enforcing marriage equality, when those have always been two main pillars of the recently growing Green and Libertarian Parties.

---

Another big point to make is that having no limits on campaign contributions actually helps third party candidates! In most recent presidential elections, the Dems and Reps have combined spent over a billion dollars. If they were forced to only take a certain amount from each donor, you might think that it would level the playing field, but it absolutely wouldn't. Because those two parties have been power for so long, they hardly need to advertize at all. Also, they have more people ready to contribute than any third party does. So even if every business, PAC, individual, whatever, can only contribute a max of $1,000, those two parties have tens of thousands more single donations than any third party has.

The total donations are scaled down, but the proportion of money to the big parties vs. alternatives doesn't change.

Having no limits means that, as a third party starts to gain support, they're free to try and collect more and more money to make their outreach competitive. A Dem or Rep presidential candidate hardly needs to even advertize, as the media already spends their own money popularizing them. But when a third party candidate can spend potentially more even with necessarily gaining more supporters, they become a greater threat.

This recent ruling is less the victory for free-for-all corruption as it's being spinned as, and more a defeat to the already unbalanced status quo.

#25 Posted by development (2830 posts) -

"We need to burn it all down."

-Jeff Gerstmann

#26 Posted by erhard (467 posts) -

The First Amendment wins.

#27 Edited by MariachiMacabre (7097 posts) -

@erhard said:

The First Amendment wins.

Nah. The First Amendment lost with Citizen's United. This is just an extra rib kick.

#28 Edited by CptBedlam (4463 posts) -

@mooseymcman said:

I'm not gonna lie, I think arbitrary limits on campaign donations and whatnot are un-American. People should have the right to donate what they want, even if the makes the system horribly unfair and corrupt.

Yeah, the rich and the biggest corporations controlling the fate of the whole country, using their influence to exploit the poor and making sure their interests come first. That's indeed really American. And it's completely fucked up.

If things continue the way they are going now, it's only a matter of time before the rapidly increasing inequality of wealth distribution becomes unbearable and this country will burn.

#29 Posted by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

I'm not gonna lie, I think arbitrary limits on campaign donations and whatnot are un-American.

Why does that matter?

#30 Posted by Wrighteous86 (3825 posts) -

@random45 said:

Well, considering lobbying is legal and is totally not bribery, I guess this depressingly makes sense.

That was basically the argument they used. "Look, we already flooded politics with money through Super PACs and saying corporations are people and money is speech, so this won't make much of a difference anyway."

#31 Posted by joshwent (2522 posts) -

Yeah, the rich and the biggest corporations controlling the fate of the whole country, using their influence to exploit the poor and making sure their interests come first.

Still, after all the money has been spent, they just get one vote like we all do. So use yours, spread the word, and get everyone you know to use that power accordingly. It doesn't matter how much money was given to a candidate and from whom... if they don't get elected.

#32 Posted by CptBedlam (4463 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@cptbedlam said:

Yeah, the rich and the biggest corporations controlling the fate of the whole country, using their influence to exploit the poor and making sure their interests come first.

Still, after all the money has been spent, they just get one vote like we all do. So use yours, spread the word, and get everyone you know to use that power accordingly. It doesn't matter how much money was given to a candidate and from whom... if they don't get elected.

It's not that easy. There are many possibilities you can shape and control opinions with money.

#33 Posted by Karkarov (3464 posts) -

I am going to say something a lot of people on this site won't like.... but here goes. Supreme Court Judges are appointed, the President can basically choose them when given the chance. The current president in office spent more money on campaigning in the state I live in.... that one state only.... than his last running mate spent on his entire campaign period. Think about it and ask yourself where this is really coming from.

#34 Edited by pyrodactyl (2464 posts) -

@cptbedlam said:

@joshwent said:

@cptbedlam said:

Yeah, the rich and the biggest corporations controlling the fate of the whole country, using their influence to exploit the poor and making sure their interests come first.

Still, after all the money has been spent, they just get one vote like we all do. So use yours, spread the word, and get everyone you know to use that power accordingly. It doesn't matter how much money was given to a candidate and from whom... if they don't get elected.

It's not that easy. There are many possibilities you can shape and control opinions with money.

Yep, the debates are only open to the 2 parties with the most money, they can put all the ads everywhere, etc. I like your optimism but history has shown that one thing is constant across generations: most people in every society are stupid. No matter where or when you look, stupid people as far as the eye can see. Don't know how the masses can even rally under a third party when all the money in the world is put on showing only 2 parties actually exist.

@mariachimacabre said:

@erhard said:

The First Amendment wins.

Nah. The First Amendment lost with Citizen's United. This is just an extra rib kick.

I didn't do the research but can anybody tell me who was the first moron who said ''money=free speech'' and what was the logic behind that? I mean, I can see how that kind of reasoning would fly in the US even though any intelligent person could've told you it was THE WORST idea.

#35 Edited by Broomhitches (169 posts) -

@alexw00d said:

The idea of things being American or un-american is the fucking stupidest thing.

I'm sorry, I had to do it.

How un-american of you.

#36 Edited by horseman6 (506 posts) -

Constitutionally, this is the correct decision. If you don't like the United States Constitution, you can do one of the following,

  1. Lobby your congressional leaders to change it
  2. Deal with it
  3. Leave the country

Why should someone who is wealthier and can donate twice as much as someone who is less wealthy not be able to? Because you don't like it? That's not a good reason. I hate the amount of impact that the media can have on political discourse, and yet, constitutionally, you can't infringe on the freedom of press, nor should you.

#37 Posted by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

I know class warfare is very popular today, but limiting what people can donate is the definition of infringement on the freedom of speech.

Not even close. In fact, your post in general is very political, for lack of better phrasing.

#38 Posted by chrissedoff (2229 posts) -

@alexw00d said:

@mooseymcman said:

I'm not gonna lie, I think arbitrary limits on campaign donations and whatnot are un-American. People should have the right to donate what they want, even if the makes the system horribly unfair and corrupt.

The idea of things being American or un-american is the fucking stupidest thing.

I assume you just mean it's not very liberal? Which doesn't make sense 'cause America as a whole seems conservative as fuck.

Americans aren't actually all that conservative on actual policies. It's really only the government and the mainstream media that are super-conservative because there's almost no way to participate in those institutions without the approval of the moneyed class.

#39 Edited by horseman6 (506 posts) -
#40 Posted by spraynardtatum (4011 posts) -

I hate this.

#41 Posted by joshwent (2522 posts) -

@cptbedlam said:

@joshwent said:

@cptbedlam said:

Yeah, the rich and the biggest corporations controlling the fate of the whole country, using their influence to exploit the poor and making sure their interests come first.

Still, after all the money has been spent, they just get one vote like we all do. So use yours, spread the word, and get everyone you know to use that power accordingly. It doesn't matter how much money was given to a candidate and from whom... if they don't get elected.

It's not that easy. There are many possibilities you can shape and control opinions with money.

Yep, the debates are only open to the 2 parties with the most money, they can put all the ads everywhere, etc. I like your optimism but history has shown that one thing is constant across generations: most people in every society are stupid. No matter where or when you look, stupid people as far as the eye can see. Don't know how the masses can even rally under a third party when all the money in the world is put on showing only 2 parties exist.

Well, you don't really have to be an optimist, because it's already happening. Third parties are getting more focus than ever before, and the past two presidents have had record low satisfaction numbers. One more thing that history shows is that change is inevitable.

And as I said before, the two main parties are already rich enough to do whatever they want. Being able to get more than a half a fucking billion dollars to spend on, say, a presidential campaign isn't going to make them win more. I'm curious what you think about the idea I put forth in my post above; that no limits on donations is actually good for third parties. When you have 95 people donating to one person, and 5 people donating to another, and everyone can only donate $1,000, it doesn't hurt that first candidate, it enforces the status quo.

If, rather, they're all able to donate whatever they want, sure, the 95 people could donate a lot more, but there's a chance that more money from those 5 people could greatly help increase awareness of the second candidate.

The established parties have little to gain as far as actually getting candidates elected by potentially receiving more money. Because, as you and others here have said, the system is already stacked in their favor. But third party candidates, who have far fewer party members, might now be better able to let their presence be known.

#42 Posted by horseman6 (506 posts) -

@video_game_king: Limiting the amount of money that you can spend on a candidate or campaign limits the exposure and effectiveness of your political views. Say you want to help a candidate who is very pro-environment get elected into office. He has little exposure because he has very little money. To get his campaign off the ground you would like to donate say a million dollars (because you're rich). Because of campaign donation limits, you can't do this, he will never be able to reach a large audience, in turn limiting the amount of exposure certain issues of importance will ever have.

Now, if you're getting favors in return like say by donating a million dollars you get 100 million in construction contracts from the government, well, that's an issue and both of you should go to jail for a very very long time.

#43 Posted by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

@video_game_king: Limiting the amount of money that you can spend on a candidate or campaign limits the exposure and effectiveness of your political views.

Which says nothing of your ability to express those views in the first place.

#44 Posted by XCEagle (121 posts) -

Constitutionally, this is the correct decision. If you don't like the United States Constitution, you can do one of the following,

  1. Lobby your congressional leaders to change it
  2. Deal with it
  3. Leave the country

I know class warfare is very popular today, but limiting what people can donate is the definition of infringement on the freedom of speech. Why should someone who is wealthier and can donate twice as much as someone who is less wealthy not be able to? Because you don't like it? That's not a good reason. I hate the amount of impact that the media can have on political discourse, and yet, constitutionally, you can't infringe on the freedom of press, nor should you, it's dangerous thinking.

There are already limits on every right you have, including speech. Why is it infringement when money is involved?

Or how's this for a better reason: this is a limit that only about 600 people hit in the last election cycle. The Court just gave 600 people more power in the political process, while also narrowly defining what corruption is and how it can be proven.

#45 Posted by Video_Game_King (36567 posts) -

@joshwent said:

And as I said before, the two main parties are already rich enough to do whatever they want. Being able to get more than a half a fucking billion dollars to spend on, say, a presidential campaign isn't going to make them win more. I'm curious what you think about the idea I put forth in my post above; that no limits on donations is actually good for third parties. When you have 95 people donating to one person, and 5 people donating to another, and everyone can only donate $1,000, it doesn't hurt that first candidate, it enforces the status quo.

If, rather, they're all able to donate whatever they want, sure, the 95 people could donate a lot more, but there's a chance that more money from those 5 people could greatly help increase awareness of the second candidate.

Also, isn't the reality of the situation completely opposite to your hypothetical? Isn't it a lot of big donations coming from a relatively small number of sources, rather than a ton of small donations from various sources?

#47 Edited by pyrodactyl (2464 posts) -

@joshwent: Your logic would be fine if I thought a third party had any chance to make it to the top. I don't. The video you posted above explains why. If someone has enough money and is good enough to get like 15 to 20% of the vote, he will most likely steal most of those votes from his closest opponent on the political spectrum, ensuring the victory of the third guy. Next election, people will drop the newcomer for the establishment so the guy they hate won't get elected again. Math, it's a real bitch.

#48 Posted by spraynardtatum (4011 posts) -

Great...so this election is going to be exponentially more obnoxious...

I wonder how many billions of dollars are going to be wasted...

#49 Posted by Scrawnto (2488 posts) -

@joshwent said:

@video_game_king said:

@joshwent said:

Only with wider representation from other parties can we even begin to try and change the flawed voting system.

But doesn't the flawed voting system prevent wider representation?

Yep. Which is why we are where we are now. As @viking_funeral pointed out, a first past the post system will always lead to two major parties. But despite its glaring flaws, its persistence is largely due to the "Spoiler Effect", where people are discouraged to vote for the candidate that most represents their own values, because they're more afraid of the party with the opposite values winning. So they vote against other parties, rather than voting for who they actually want.

True enough. The only time I actually voted for a Green Party candidate was when there wasn't a Republican to vote against, meaning I didn't feel a compulsion to vote Dem. I think I'm registered Independent or Green. I don't actually recall.

#50 Edited by horseman6 (506 posts) -

@xceagle: And I would say that we need to review those infringements just as we have here.

The Constitution doesn't place arbitrary limits for a reason. Just because 99.9999% of people aren't going to hit the donation limit doesn't make it constitutional to place limits on donations. I'm not going to hit that limit, I've never donated to a campaign before because I don't trust politicians, and I'm not going to demand limits on others. I do believe that there are favors and there is also corruption which is an inherent problem in all forms of governments. Corruption should be much better defined and hold very severe penalties.

Also, even with millions of dollars going around, the media holds more power than money by far.