February 20, 2013

The Supreme Court is taking up McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case that seeks to unbridle the limits on individual contributions to political campaigns. Many think this wouldn’t have much impact on campaigns.  After all, both President Obama and Mitt Romney raised $1 billion-plus the last election cycle.

Maybe at the presidential level, races could stay competitive because of the enthusiasm candidates on both sides can generate. But the inherent financial interests that are at stake in congressional races make this a risky and unwise proposition. Control of Congress is as much about policy as it is about party.

And the fact is, there is just not as much financial interest in the progressive side of the argument. When big oil and mineral interests like the Koch brothers have a chance to control Congress, they get richer, pure and simple.  When Democrats stop these financial interests from fleecing the land, the country is a better place, but there is no one to buy their election for them in reward.  Simplistic but true: The bigger individual money is on the wrong side, and the country will be the worse off for such people having increased influence.

The GOP will talk about labor unions.  It will say that there is money on both sides.  Of course Republicans have spent the last 10 years successfully undermining organized labor and guaranteeing that workers power is not equal to management’s power.  There really is no Democratic equivalent of the large amounts of money the GOP will find to buy the Congress.  The Supreme Court shouldn’t give the GOP new power.