22nd October 2012
Rep. Christopher Murphy (D., Conn.), who has said he opposes the 2010 Citizens United ruling because it “corrupts our democracy,” has relied heavily on spending by outside, anonymously funded groups in his campaign to fill the Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I., Conn.).
My, what a surprise! Aren’t you surprised? I’m sure surprised.
THERE IS NO WAY that election spending by corporations can ‘corrupt our democracy’ because THERE IS NO WAY that corporations can directly buy votes (of voters, that is; legislators are another story). The MOST that corporations can do is spend on advertising to get their message out — assuming that they have a message to get out — which is precisely the thing that the First Amendment protects. ‘Corrupt our democracy’, in this context, means ‘let the voters know the truth about what Democrats are doing to them behind their backs — don’t forget to bend over’.
Left-wing mythology to the contrary notwithstanding, advertising is incapable of making an individual voter vote one way or another against his or her will; the most that it can do is attempt to alter the information received by the voter that the voter uses as the basis for his or her decision, and such attempts are notoriously hit-and-miss. It’s easy to find the tale of an election where the guy who spent the most actually lost.
Remember Michael Huffington, Arianna Huffington’s meal-ticket until she had squeezed all the juice out of that connection that she could? He spent $28 million on his campaign to beat Diane Feinstein for a California Senate seat — the most spent on a non-presidential campaign up till then — and still lost. If it were ever possible to ‘buy’ an election, that would have been it — and it wasn’t. So all this talk of ‘buying the election’ is just bullshit.