By Ed Rampell
Lefties and other whiners are dismayed at the U.S. Supreme Court’s post-April Fool’s Day McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission ruling that struck down some campaign finance restrictions in Federal elections.
In essence, by a 5-4 decision, the high court eliminated Watergate-era limits imposed on two-year election cycles for House and Senate races, raising the total amount of money individual donors can contribute to candidates and parties from a paltry $123,000 up to $6 million.
The reaction from liberals and other socialist sore losers has been predictable, if lamentable.
In his dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer bellyached that the ruling “eviscerates our nation’s campaign finance laws. … Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.”
Former Clinton Administration Labor Secretary and current Berkeley Bolshevik Robert Reich kvetched that the Supremes’ decision will lead to “buying unparalleled personal influence in Washington and drowning out the voices of ordinary citizens. … This is the most brazen invitation to oligarchy in Supreme Court history.”
As usual, these commie crybabies completely miss the point. In fact, instead of merely “chipping away” -- as Justice Clarence Thomas put it in his concurring opinion -- at the 1976 Buckley v. Valeo ruling that considered money to be speech, what America needs is a complete and thorough overhaul of our electoral campaign spending system.
Because like 2010’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, McCutcheon v. FEC just does not go far enough.
It still leaves in place the unfortunate reality that although they are the nation’s worthiest, most substantial citizens, rich Americans are -- as the term “the 1%” indicates -- still an oppressed minority group.
It’s simply unfair that America’s job creators can be outvoted by the great unwashed. This is especially unjust as the denizens of Wall Street, corporations, captains of industry, scions of our best families – and not the taxpayers -- finance the entire electoral system, from the lobbyists at American Legislative Exchange Council, who craft and draft laws, to the campaign contributors who grease the political wheels by funding candidates, primaries, PACs, parties and races. After all, bumper stickers and robocalls don’t grow on trees.
The donor class needs to level the playing field that is currently numerically dominated by the deadbeats and the takers.
Indeed, rather than just seek another namby-pamby Supreme Court ruling that just isn’t far-reaching enough, what is needed in order to protect the rights of this oppressed minority and to render electoral justice to them is a constitutional amendment to reflect contemporary realities.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ OpenSecrets.org website: “Only a tiny fraction of Americans actually give campaign contributions to political candidates, parties or PACs. The ones who give contributions large enough to be itemized (over $200) are even smaller.” The nonpartisan, nonprofit, independent organization points out that only 0.12% of the electorate donates $200 or more to candidates for Federal office.
So the question that must be asked is: Why should a major donor get the same number of votes -- that is, only one -- as the average voter, who contributes less than $200 during the electoral cycle? Why should bundlers of millions have an equal vote with bunglers spending well under $200 -- if anything at all -- for candidates of their choice?
For example, consider the case of Sheldon Adelson, whom Forbes called “America’s fifth richest man,” with a fortune estimated at $37 billion. According to The Washington Post, Adelson, along with his wife, Miriam, were “the biggest givers in the political world” in 2012, donating at least $93 million to super PACs, etc. During the last presidential race the Las Vegas/Macao gambling tycoon singlehandedly sustained the floundering candidacy of Newt Gingrich with a $15 million contribution to Gingrich’s Winning Our Future super PAC.
It is simply not fair for someone of Adelson’s stature and bankroll to have the same number of votes as a teacher, carpenter, cabdriver, government employee, or any of the other members of the taker class who our republic, in its generosity, tolerates to exercise the franchise.
Therefore, a constitutional amendment must be passed in order to rectify this grave, extreme injustice. Now, since America is a democracy, of course voters should have a choice as to which formula they’d prefer for correcting this historical grievance. So here are the two options:
1) The number of votes individuals cast should not be limited to one per voter but recalibrated so that it is dependent upon one’s income. For example, according to the Social Security Administration, in 2012 the national average wage index was $44,321.67.” So, if one earns that amount (or, to be ultra-generous, any fraction of it) the citizen warrants one vote per race. Thus, to use a fair formulation, if Sheldon Adelson is worth $37 billion and this sum is objectively divided by the median income of $44,321.67, then Adelson is worth 834,806 times more than the average voter. Therefore, if the ordinary citizen gets one vote, Adelson will get 834,806 votes for the candidate of his choice.
Now, some may claim that a means test to determine the number of votes one can cast that’s based solely on one’s wealth (or lack of) is unseemly for a democracy. So in the interests of fair play, voters for the constitutional amendment to remedy the current, unscrupulous “one man, one vote” system should be able to choose a second formula:
2) While Adelson may have a net worth of $37 billion, this does not mean that he devoted his entire fortune to influencing politics (and insulting Palestinians). After all, the man’s got to eat and running the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino costs a bundle -- gondolas don’t miraculously appear out of thin air, especially at Las Vegas or Macao. So instead of basing a citizen’s number of votes on his or her wealth, it is more reasonable and equitable to base this on the amount of money he/she donates to political campaigns. Therefore, if Adelson spent $93 million on the 2012 campaign and the average Obama voter contributed $53 (according to Breitbart.com in October 2012), this means that Adelson outspent the ordinary Democrat by 1,754,716 to one. Therefore, under this recipe, Adelson would be entitled to 1,754,716 ballots per election.
These are two different formulas from which the American people, in their righteous wisdom, can choose in order to repair the injury that the masters of the universe have been forced to endure and labor under for lo, these many moons.
There is absolutely no sane reason why someone like Adelson, the world’s eighth richest man, should be limited to the same number of votes as a plumber or bus driver. Why, the very notion is laughably daft and old- fashioned!
By amending the U.S. Constitution with one of the above two solutions, which U.S. voters can democratically select from, America can, once and for all, do away with the tyranny of majority rule and redress the legitimate grievances of the wise propertied class that has suffered so long from underrepresentation due to our quaint but outdated notions of equality.
And the downtrodden Sheldon Adelsons of this country can finally lift the yoke of oppression and get what they have coming to them. After all, they are more equal than the rest of us.
Ed Rampell is a freelancer who writes often for The Progressive. And yes, in case you're confused, this is satire.