A sad and disturbing thing recently happened in Wisconsin and California. The unlimited political funding that has become legal with the “Citizens United” case has begun to show its strength.
In Wisconsin, a governor who had been taped talking with millionaire donors promising to “divide and conquer” labor unions (although he had never given that as his agenda when running for governor) and who had been the subject of protests from hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin citizens, won his recall election. He says it is because the people of Wisconsin approved of his actions — but it could also be said that it was the corporate and Super-PAC donors (the majority coming from outside Wisconsin), that approved of his actions and they just out-spent the Democratic donors (whose support was primarily from inside Wisconsin) by over seven times. The recall was defeated by only 8 points.
And in California, a proposition to raise the taxes on cigarettes that had overwhelming public support in March went down in defeat after the tobacco industry began an advertising campaign that out-spent the supporters of the measure by over four times. The proposition went down by 1.6 points.
It makes you wonder what the results might have been if the playing field had been level.
There is a concerted effort by Republican governors and legislators to weaken the unions. They know that the only lobby that the middle-class worker has are the unions. If they break the unions, their corporate backers will have even more power. It is not a coincidence that, as union representation has diminished, middle-class wages have stagnated and corporate salaries and profits have skyrocketed.
The Supreme Court says that corporations are people, and certainly they are made up of people. But it is the very few at the top that decide how their political funds are spent. And those very few may not even have the best interests of the United States at heart. As we know, many American corporations are heavily controlled by investment from China, Saudi Arabia and other countries whose priorities may differ from ours.
This should not be a partisan concern — all American voters should want elections to reflect the will of the people of the United States, not a handful of billionaires and corporations. Please go to www.movetoamend.org for further information and join the fight for fair elections.