Democracy for sale! Democracy for sale! Get your control of the world’s most powerful democracy with its $14 trillion GDP for the low, low price of a few hundred million. From the Wesleyan Media Project (PDF):
An estimated $198M has been spent on advertising in U.S. Senate and U.S. House races in the five weeks between 9/1 and 10/7. With September as the traditional start to the general election season, the 75 percent increase in spending (from $113M during the same period in 2008) includes an 84 percent spending increase in U.S. Senate races and a 65 percent increase in U.S. House ads. [...]
“Breaking down the air war by party reveals big advantages to Republicans in both party and interest group investment in federal races,” said [Micheal] Franz. “Combining party and coordinated totals, Republicans are outspending Democrats by almost 3 to 2. Among interest group spenders, Republican-leaning organizations are outspending Democrats by a margin of almost 9:1 in House and Senate contests.”
The Citizen’s United ruling has clearly unleashed a flood of outside corporate spending on our elections, and we don’t even know who is trying to shape our government with their millions. The beneficiary of all this new secret campaign spending is overwhelmingly the Republican Party.
With tens of millions of dollars worth of campaign ads coming their way, it is no wonder Senate Republicans joined in lock step to filibuster the DISCLOSE act, which, while incredibly weak, would have at least attempted to help address this problem. What is completely inconceivable is why the Democrats allowed this insane abuse of an 18th Century Senate rule drafting mistake to continue and didn’t simply eliminate the filibuster. Democrats’ insane love of protecting institutional malfunction has literally been destroying them.
I would care little about their childish incompetence and slavish adherence to a disgusting anti-Constitutional tradition if it were only torpedoing their re-election hopes, but, unfortunately, it is also undermining our entire government. They fiddle with their stupid clubhouse rules while millions in secret corporate dollars are used as kindling to burn our democracy.
I only hope that, seeing this election as the dark harbinger of things to come, Democrats will use the lame duck session to kill the filibuster if need be to pass the DISClOSE Act and Fair Election Now Act, and attempt to put our Democracy back in the hands of regular Americans. Of course, I fear thay are instead planning to use that time to cut Social Security–people have their priorities, after all.