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How to Beat Citizens United

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Posted on Apr 22, 2012

By E.J. Dionne, Jr.

We are about to have the worst presidential campaign money can buy. The Supreme Court’s dreadful Citizens United decision and a somnolent Federal Election Commission will allow hundreds of millions of dollars from a small number of very wealthy people and interests to inundate our airwaves with often vicious advertisements for which no candidate will be accountable.

One would like to think that the court will eventually admit the folly of its 2010 ruling and reverse it. But we can’t wait that long. And out of this dreary landscape, hope is blossoming in the state of New York. There’s irony here, since New York is where a lot of the big national money is coming from. No matter. The state is considering a campaign finance law that would repair some of the Citizens United damage, and in a way the Supreme Court wouldn’t be able to touch.

The idea is that to offset the power of large donors, citizens without deep pockets should be encouraged to flood the system with small contributions that the government would match. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pledged to a state overhaul of this sort, based on the one already in force for New York City elections. In his state of the state address in January, Cuomo spoke of how urgent it is to “reconnect the people to the political process and their government.” He could make himself into a reform hero across the country if he and the Legislature created a model law for other states, and the nation.

The New York City program is straightforward: The government gives participating candidates $6 in matching funds for every dollar raised from individuals who live in the city, up to the first $175. At a maximum, this means a $175 contribution is augmented by $1,050 in public funds. That’s a mighty incentive for politicians to involve more citizens in paying for campaigns. In the city system, participating candidates have to live within certain spending and contribution limits. In a new statewide system, there are likely to be no spending restrictions but lower limits on contributions.

The beautiful thing is that this approach should answer most of the criticisms offered by those who defend the Citizens United world. I say “should” because advocates of current arrangements will find a way to oppose any reforms. But the New York Revolution, if it happens, would undercut many of their arguments—including their constitutional claims.

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The New York reform does not limit anyone’s capacity to participate. It creates incentives for more people to participate. It does not reduce the amount of political speech. It expands the number of people speaking through their contributions. It does not protect incumbents. On the contrary, it opens the way for candidates who might otherwise be driven from the competition by established politicians with access to traditional funding sources.

In short, it makes our democracy democratic again.

And it works. A study of the New York City program published recently by Michael Malbin, executive director of the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute, and his co-authors Peter W. Brusoe and Brendan Glavin concludes that the evidence “suggests that multiple-matching funds can stimulate participation by small donors in a manner that is healthy for democracy.”

In particular, they discovered that the reform substantially increased involvement by residents of poor and minority neighborhoods. Suddenly, politicians are hanging around with people other than those with yachts, private jets and complicated tax breaks. Malbin and his colleagues put it more soberly: A matching-funds approach means politicians “spending time with a more diverse set of constituents than he or she would if all of his or her fundraising engaged the upper middle class and rich.”

As for those who object to “taxpayer financing of elections,” consider that a candidate doesn’t get a dime unless he or she raises money from willing private donors. Besides, the Malbin paper notes, “political and civic participation are public goods” and elections “are, after all, the public’s business.” Conservatives fond of vouchers in so many other areas should see this as an opportunity to create Democracy Vouchers.

It will take courage for incumbent politicians to risk establishing a bold new system that could put some of them in danger. But in the course of our history, New York has been a proudly innovative place. A nation looking for a way out from under the money regime created by Citizens United badly needs the example of politicians who believe in democracy enough to democratize the mother’s milk of politics.


E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)washpost.com.
   
© 2012, Washington Post Writers Group


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By heterochromatic, April 26, 2012 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

Ethan—- again once SCOTUS rules, which courts do the state AGs look to to
overturn the ruling???


no pissing contest, but a point of fact…...whether you think it mete or no, when
SCOTUS rules no other court has authority to change a jot or tittle of the ruling.

I just don’t understand where you think a legal challenge to the ruling can be
lodged.

Report this

By Ethan Allen, April 26, 2012 at 1:24 pm Link to this comment

RE:

“By heterochromatic, April 24 at 3:33 pm Link to this
comment
Ethan—- thank you for the clarification….......
please remind me of which courts in
the country has jurisdiction for accepting challenges
to a recent SCOTUS decision
so that I can understand how it’s part of the NYS AG
function.”
******************
Good Sir,

Perhaps a visit to the Bill of Rights, with focused
attention on the First and Tenth Amendments, might
spark and inform your understanding of what is
considered “Constitutional standing” before any
Federal Court to seek redress.
All state Attorney’s General are required by their
oath of office to challenge any (“recent” or
otherwise) SCOTUS decision, on behalf of their constituencies, in accordance with our established
rule of law. If in fact we, as state citizens, have
legitimate cause to believe that we are being denied
or deprived of our due process ‘right’ to redress, in
any court, regardless of jurisdiction, we can compel
our Attorney General to formally address our
concerns.
PS: If you are trying to lure me into a digressive
‘pissing contest’, or any other form of vitriolic
exchange that may entertain your interests, please be
here-to-fore informed that my discursive inclinations
lie elsewhere.

Report this

By Annoyed, April 25, 2012 at 8:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hate it when a handful of people (someones only 2) monopolize the comments with insults, babble and unrelated tangents - just makes the rest of us have to filter through the clutter to read anything informative or intelligent.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 25, 2012 at 5:33 pm Link to this comment

sure gary,,,,,,you   assumed


” I am, of course, assuming that you are not a millioniare.”

that

but you were certain about something else…

“I’m certain that your time since school has been spent creating more wealth for
at least one millioniare”


your assumption wasn’t evil…but you CERTAINLY demonstrated that you’re a
condescending fool with your snide certainty.


vous etes an ane.

Report this
Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, April 25, 2012 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

Heterochromatic wrote: “guess I shouldn’t have assumed you would be able to figure that out

Obviously my bad.

Assumptions are evil!
For instance, I had assumed that you could read.

Nothing to see here folks. Move along.

C’est la vie eh. smile

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 25, 2012 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

sorry Gary but I responded to your baseless and lame assumption that…...

“I’m certain that your time since school has been spent creating more wealth for at
least one millioniare….”

guess I shouldn’t have assumed you would be able to figure that out

Report this
Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, April 25, 2012 at 12:02 pm Link to this comment

I wrote:

I am, of course, assuming that you are not a millioniare.

Heterochromatic responded:

Gary—- your assumption is not correct… I’ve spent most of my working time working for non-profit and charitable organizations at wages far less than I was
offered by private businesses.

========

Very interesting. My assumption that you are not a millioniare is incorrect!

Then you are indeed claiming to be a millionaire!!

So please explain; How did you become a millioniare working for non-profit and charitable organizations at wages far less than you were offered by private businesses?

Do you rob banks in your spare time, or were you already a millionaire before you began working for non-profit and charitable organizations?

I, and certainly many others, would love to follow in your footsteps if you indeed became a millionaire legally, while working for non-profit and charitable organizations at wages far less than are offered by private businesses.

Of course, if you were already a millionaire, then you’re working for non-profit and charitable organizations at lower wages than are offered by private businesses cannot be perceived as any sort of hardship, you do realize.

More like “slumming.”

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 25, 2012 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

Gary—- your assumption is not correct… I’ve spent most of my working time
working for non-profit and charitable organizations at wages far less than I was
offered by private businesses.

Report this
Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, April 24, 2012 at 11:24 pm Link to this comment

heterochromatic said: “now I understand why all those years in school were wasted.

Wasted is a relative term. I’m certain that your time since school has been spent creating more wealth for at least one millioniare, and thus according to government, you are a valuable citizen fulfilling your purpose successfuly.

I am, of course, assuming that you are not a millioniare.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

“heterochromatic” obviously is trying to dodge the truth, not that it’s easy for a country to become democratic, but that the people should not claim that they have succeeded when they haven’t, as is the case in the USA.  And no, I am not ashamed to use the word “should”.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

——You seem to suggesting that we lower the bar for the USA because it’s so
DIFFICULT for us to become a democracy.—-

I suggest that we take note of difficulty, not quail in the face of it.


we must demand that every adult American be faster than a speeding bullet,
change the course of mighty rivers, and bend steel with his bare hands.


shouldn’t they?

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Ethan—- thank you for the clarification…....... please remind me of which courts in
the country has jurisdiction for accepting challenges to a recent SCOTUS decision
so that I can understand how it’s part of the NYS AG function.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

TruthDig said I could vote for them for a Webby Award at webbyawards.com .
I did, but I didn’t like the ballot.  No ranked ballot.  No “other” option.  Bad categories.  Many bad nominees.  No nominations for many of my favourites.

All is not lost, though.  I had already written my own poll at the small non-profit DemoChoice:

http://www.demochoice.org/dcballot.php?poll=BenevWebSi

Much quicker to answer.  More fair.  More fun.  You’re welcome.

Report this

By Ethan Allen, April 24, 2012 at 3:54 pm Link to this comment

Re:
“By heterochromatic, April 23 at 5:29 pm Link to this
comment
Ethan Allen——If Cuomo was actually willing to invest
his political clout on behalf
of his constituents, he would enjoin his Attorney
General to construct a legal
challenge to any such compromise of fair and open
elections.——


I’m not really clear on your meaning, but are
suggesting that the NYS AG should
mount a legal challenge to a SCOTUS decision??????”

Absolutely….or he could at least submit a ‘brief’
in support of the other State Attorney’s General that
are challenging “Citizens United” on behalf of their
citizens; that is one of the tasks that state AG’s
routinely perform. Are you not “clear ??????” on
that?

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

You seem to suggesting that we lower the bar for the USA because it’s so DIFFICULT for us to become a democracy.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 3:26 pm Link to this comment

Korky—- if you use “should” yet again, you should learn the meaning of the word
and the contexts in which it SHOULD be used

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

So we should lower the bar for the USA because it’s so DIFFICULT for us to become a democracy?

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

Kork——Again….. it’s not that it SHOULD….it’s that it’s more difficult….......quite
a bit more difficult

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

Also, that same group, the Economist Intelligence Unit, ranks 81 countries as more peaceful than the USA, including Cuba and both Chinas.  Nevertheless, I think that’s a gross over-rating of the USA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Peace_Index

And all of the USA’s dozens of wars since 1945 make the country less democratic because those imperialistic wars were neither declared by Congress nor approved in referenda.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

All right, “heterochromatic”, should/could/would an “ethnically diverse” country have a less stringent definition of democracy than less diverse country?

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

it ain’t “should” Kork…it’s degree of difficulty, particularly when those 7 small
countries aren’t ethnically diverse

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 1:20 pm Link to this comment

Yes, “heterochromatic”, the Economist Intelligence Unit
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index  ) lists 25 “full democracies.”

And I said that I disagreed in the cases of the USA, the UK, and Canada.  Especially because they lack pro-rep (#3 in my list of criteria).

Also, “heterochromatic”, should a large country have a less stringent definition of democracy than a small country?

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

so, your quoting something that describes the US and 24 other countries as Full
Democracies.?


and BTW that top 7….is comprised of countries with less than 7% of the population
of the US.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Mont——very original ideas. i really like that thing about all governments are
capitalist because they aim for the concentration of wealth.


now I understand why all those years in school were wasted.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 12:45 pm Link to this comment

US Americans are so parochial!
Even the Economist Intelligence Unit
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index  ),
(which vastly over-scores the pseudo-democracies the USA, the UK, and Canada), admits that these 18 countries are more democratic than the USA (in order, best to worst):
1.  Norway.
2.  Iceland.
3.  Denmark.
4.  Sweden.
5.  New Zealand.
6.  Australia.
7.  Switzerland.
8.  Canada.
9.  Finland.
10.  Netherlands.
11.  Luxembourg.
12.  Ireland.
13.  Austria.
14.  Germany.
15.  Malta.
16.  Czech Republic.
17.  Uruguay.
18.  United Kingdom.

Maybe if Gary Mont lived in one of the top 7, he’d see that there is hope for government.
In Denmark, for instance, people are proud of paying high taxes and enjoying the benefits thereof, and the fact that their country has one of the most even wealth spreads of any in the world.
Iceland just let its banks fail because of public demand, and now the country is doing quite well—without drastic “austerity”.
Still not perfect governments, but those 7 are close enough to qualify as democracies in my book.

Rwanda, though not so democratic overall (#136), shines in one criterion.  Its legislature is more than half women.  Also Andorra, which is very democratic.  All other countries have less than half women parliamentarians.  I guess that more men (excepting me) think that male dominance doesn’t detract from democracy.  Any women reading this?

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 12:41 pm Link to this comment

I’m against electing presidents. I suggest that Korky should quiz the candidates
and appoints the one that represents the largest proportion of Korkerism.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 12:04 pm Link to this comment

It seems that “heterochromatic” is for electing a president with a minority of the votes (#9), not counting all the votes (#10), and buying elections (#15), among other of my criteria.

Report this
Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, April 24, 2012 at 11:49 am Link to this comment

There has never been a People’s Democratic Government in known history, anywhere on earth.

Governments are not formed to protect the general population, but to exploit the general population on behalf of, and create exploitation opportunities for, the wealthy castes, from which come the members of all governments.

Every government, regardless of the label it chooses to fool the general population, is a capitalist government, because redistribution of the common wealth for the benefit of a select few, is its only true purpose.

Modern governments; aware that they are utterly obsolete and useless, literally create most of the crisis the world faces, specifically to create an environment in which it appears that government is a necessary evil and maintain their lucrative position at the head of civilization.

Because governments are all capitalist and all begin as facades based on lies, the final condition of any successful government prior to complete collapse is always fascism - the wealth has been redistributed into the hands of a very few merchant class people who then use that great wealth to alter the laws to allow unchecked and open exploitation of the popualtion, thus bringing about the demise of the civilization itself.

Government is the single greatest force against human evolution ever devised and the single greatest expense any civilization will ever incur. Only Religion comes close to equalling the folly of government. Together with Business, they form the Triad that keeps man in the dark ages, regardless of how advanced his technology might become.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

nowhere did I suggest that you’ve “too high a standard” Kork.

what I did say is that your ideas are fine and unnecessary and not at all widely
shared.


you seem not to believe that if nations don’t follow your suggestions, then they’re
“pseudo-democracies”... that’s pseudo-intelligent.

the US is democratic enough for you to be able to advocate for your program and
good luck to you.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Several others on TruthDig threads have already said that they agree with several of my criteria (listed below, 2012 April 24, 6:17 am).  Maybe they will speak up now.  Maybe heterochromatic and other pseudo-democracy apologists will screw up their courage and state herein WHICH of those criteria they think is too high a standard for democracy.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 11:00 am Link to this comment

you “think” the public would agree, except that you know that they don’t…..and
therefore some malign power must be responsible for you being in the small
minority…....

if most everyone is “brainwashed” what difference would your reforms make?

as long as everyone thinks they’re free and wise they’re gonna vote for all the
things that you don’t like.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 8:46 am Link to this comment

I think the public would agree with those criteria mostly, but they’ve been brain-washed into thinking that the USA is the greatest democracy ever.  And brain-washed by people like heterochromatic, who is scared to say which of those criteria is dispensable.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

those are your preferences and that’s fine….but they are not necessary and
countries are democracies if they aren’t organized along those lines.


try not to confuse that which you regard as ideal with what the world regards as
debatable….in a democracy, your personal preferences aren’t controlling.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 7:17 am Link to this comment

In my opinion, a democracy:
1.  Has a constitution passed by a national referendum.
2.  Has national referenda.
3.  Gives each party a proportion of the legislature according to its proportion of the total votes.  (A minority cannot control a legislature.)
4.  Has elections with a turn-out of at least 90% of adult citizens.
5.  Doesn’t kill its non-rich people by denial of health care.
6.  Doesn’t keep killing people in foreign countries without a declaration of war by a democratically elected authority.
7.  Doesn’t have legislatures weighted by geography instead of population.
8.  Doesn’t have the Electoral College.
9.  Elects people to single posts (president, governor, state superintendent of schools) with a ranked ballot, not by a minority of votes.
10.  Doesn’t have a court which stops the votes from being counted.
11.  Doesn’t have unverifiable machine voting.
12.  Has debates among all the candidates.
13.  Every elected official debates their opposition all through their term.
14.  Has half the legislatures women.
15.  Doesn’t let anyone buy elections.

and around 20 more criteria.

USA fails all 15.
Canada fails 9 of those 15.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 6:43 am Link to this comment

Many of you like to play with peoples names and handles, as Rush Limbaugh does.  Doing so, however, makes it hard to e-search for names, since computers don’t get your little jokes.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 24, 2012 at 6:33 am Link to this comment

Korrker—- you can make up your own rankings and you don’t need to do any
research…...you can just go Jonah Goldberg and ignore the commonly accepted
definitions of terms and everything will be the way you want it to be.

you can decide that authoritarian states with hereditary family rule such as Syria
and North Korea are people’s democracies.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 6:15 am Link to this comment

The Democracy Index is compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit
( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy_Index  )
& ranks these like this:
8.  Canada.
18.  U.K.
19.  U.S.A.
39.  India.
126.  Cuba.

If I had the money to research it as well as they have, but without their bias, I suspect my rankings would put those all in the low 100s.

Report this

By Korky Day, April 24, 2012 at 5:40 am Link to this comment

“heterochromatic” claims, “the US is a democracy according to any accepted definition of the
term . . . perhaps you mean that it’s a flawed democracy.” 

I’ve explained this many times on other TruthDig threads.

The USA is, and always has been, a pseudo-democracy, a conquering empire, a plutocracy, a kleptocracy, etc.
If it’s just a flawed democracy, it would be like Sweden and Switzerland, with proportional elections and/or frequent referenda, etc., but not yet Heaven.

Of course, if you believe the media of the big 4 pseudo-democracies (USA, UK, Canada, India) and their allied and subordinate countries, of course, yes, the USA is a democracy.  Salute the flag.  However, I’m sure Hitler and Stalin and Castro and Saddam Hussein and all the others claimed they were democracies.  You have to think for yourself.  Even Wikipedia cannot always be trusted on such questions:  Too dominated by (volunteer) editors from the big 4 pseudo-democracies, who are living in a dream world if they claim that the USA is anywhere near being a democracy.

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Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, April 24, 2012 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

In an 1864 letter to his friend Col. William Elkins, Abraham Lincoln wrote:

“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety than ever before, even in the midst of war.”

Report this
Gary Mont's avatar

By Gary Mont, April 24, 2012 at 4:56 am Link to this comment

Cosimo diRondo wrote” “How long before the Koch brothers start handing out $175 to paid minions (make it $200…$25 for your trouble).  Now you donate it to our pet hack, and they get 6 times as much.  Kochs save a bundle.  Probably send a chunk of it to Cuomo for all his help.

Hammer, nail, perfect hit.

In fact, the idea probably came from the Koch Brothers, (developed in the ALEC think-tank) specifically so they could save some major money on the cost of manipulating elections.

Puts off the “need” to do anything about the Citizens United ruling for another four years also - or longer if the public fails to catch on to the scam.

A tip of the hat Cosimo. Very astute reasoning.

I seldom see people catch on this quickly to the often slick machinations of fascists.

Perhaps there is some reason to hope after all.

Report this

By heterochromatic, April 23, 2012 at 6:29 pm Link to this comment

Ethan Allen——If Cuomo was actually willing to invest his political clout on behalf
of his constituents, he would enjoin his Attorney General to construct a legal
challenge to any such compromise of fair and open elections.——


I’m not really clear on your meaning, but are suggesting that the NYS AG should
mount a legal challenge to a SCOTUS decision??????


——————-

Korker—- the US is a democracy according to any accepted definition of the
term…... perhaps you mean that it’s a flawed democracy.

Report this

By Cosimo diRondo, April 23, 2012 at 6:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sorry, but I’m just too cynical to believe this scheme is not just another backhanded way of plundering our tax dollars.  How long before the Koch brothers start handing out $175 to paid minions (make it $200…$25 for your trouble).  Now you donate it to our pet hack, and they get 6 times as much.  Kochs save a bundle.  Probably send a chunk of it to Cuomo for all his help.

Report this

By the owl, April 23, 2012 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Is it time for City States in the USA?  In days of old a US State was considered by its population.  Let’s do the same with Metro areas.  LA, Chicago, Detroit, NY City etc and their “collar” counties should become single States in the Union.
There may be some disadvantages (more politicians?) but think of the advantages, eg. more equal representation, etc.

Report this

By NABNYC, April 23, 2012 at 2:57 pm Link to this comment

I disagree.  People should not spend one cent on elections.  Elections are nothing more than obscene circuses designed to distract people from the real problems of our lives:  lack of jobs, lack of decent pay, benefits, healthcare, education, housing.  You know—those “other” issues.  “Other” than who won or lost.  The trivial concerns.

I remember an old joke.  A man tells his friend that he makes the important decisions in the family:  whether the U.S. should normalize relations with China, who is the best candidate for political office.  He leaves all the little stuff to his wife:  where they will live, what they will eat, what clothes and shoes they will wear, what if any church to attend, where the kids go to school, where to shop, how much to spend, where and if to vacation.  The “little” stuff.

It’s the same essential issue with elections.  They are a silly waste of time for most working people whose real energies should be devoted to demanding a real national healthcare program, a full employment bill and a living wage law, rescission of all WTO and other trade deals so we can start over and protect American jobs.  Just to start.

Instead of trying to tweak the system, compete with the billionaires, people should do the opposite:  design our own election system and only support candidates who use our rules.  Our own election system:  campaign for 3 months, mostly provide a platform online on all issues with Skype interviews and Q and A.  A few personal appearances, but no more private jets, no more six billion dollars wasted on lobbyists and expensive travel.  It’s just like the Tsar dining on rich foods while the people starve in the streets below.  We should simply refuse to participate altogether.  Make our own election and all other systems of governance, and thoroughly reject those being funded by Wall Street.  If I have to buy a politician, I lose because I don’t have enough money, and I don’t want a politician who can be bought.

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By Korky Day, April 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

“The New York reform . . . makes our democracy democratic again,” according to the author, E.J. Dionne, Jr.

How amazingly naive. 
The USA has never been a democracy.

The New York reform probably is worth supporting, but it would be much better to take out money as a factor altogether.  Quite possible, but the people are going to have to get a lot more angry and radical than they are now in order to push it through.

Report this

By Marie, April 23, 2012 at 12:21 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

We had this very same system in Canada and the new Conservative government cancelled it.

Report this

By Ethan Allen, April 23, 2012 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

The subliminal premise of E.J. Dionne’s silly screed, that Andrew Cuomo’s quest is to enfranchise the vote of the 99% with this proposal, is nothing more than political propaganda disguised as reform. If Cuomo was actually willing to invest his political clout on behalf of his constituents, he would enjoin his Attorney General to construct a legal challenge to any such compromise of fair and open elections.
The unfettered belief in liberty and equality for all, guided by enlightened reason, are the progressive parameters of the changes needed in order for our political system to return to its Constitutional design.

Report this

By Kevin Schmidt, April 23, 2012 at 11:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

From the article:
“The New York reform does not limit anyone’s capacity to participate. It expands the number of people speaking through their contributions. In short, it makes our democracy democratic again.”

Therefore, participation is defined as contributions,
and contributions is what makes democracy democratic?

Really?

I thought participation was defined by activism and advocacy, and the author’s redundant “democratic democracy” was not defined by vote buying, but defined by our elected representatives actually representing “We the People”.

Report this

By Kevin Schmidt, April 23, 2012 at 11:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The New York reform does not limit anyone’s capacity to participate. It expands the number of people speaking through their contributions. In short, it makes our democracy democratic again.”

So, participation is defined as contributions, and contributions is what makes democracy democratic?

Really???

I thought participation was defined by activism and advocacy, and democratic democracy was defined by our representatives actually representing their constituents, and not by vote buying.

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By DornDiego, April 23, 2012 at 9:33 am Link to this comment

Sshhhh… too much truth

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By DornDiego, April 23, 2012 at 9:30 am Link to this comment

I’m sorry, but what is being advocated in this column as “the New York Revolution”
in campaign finance just seems, once again, to equate voting with dollars.  Even a
voluntary poll tax poisons the notion of democracy by making it a money game,
and we’re seeing that when a country whose upper 2% enjoy some 93% of the GDP
growth ordinary people lower down will never be able to match the “contributions”
of the oligarchs, much less exceed them. 
And let’s face it, if we are subjected to Obama commercials day and night will that
help solve our problems? 
Organizing is the only way out of this mess.  That would be a real democratic
response to the degeneracy of wealth, not just a commercial.

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By Doubtom, April 23, 2012 at 7:56 am Link to this comment

Looks to me like we’re victims of lawyers regardless of who gets elected.  Those
nine lawyers make or break this Republic and they should have their wings clipped
once and for all time by a Constitutional Amendment. 
It was never intended that this experiment should die at the hands of scummy
lawyers and their ridiculous decisions which represent the rich elite.  It is the
height of arrogance for those lawyers to decide that corporations are people and
that money is free speech while holding a straight face.  If there ever was a case
that proves beyond a doubt, that lawyers are simply in the business of distorting
or manipulating words for their own gain, this is it.  We need to start hanging a
few lawyers instead of their victims. 
Lawyers and their close cousins the priests are the original parasites of societies
everywhere- they produce exactly nothing of value except words which they insist
on being the only ones to interpret for the captured public.  It’s the ultimate scam
or con game and the public has yet to catch on.  “Woe unto you Lawyers”.

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By sciencehighway, April 23, 2012 at 7:21 am Link to this comment

“One would like to think that the court will eventually admit the folly of its 2010 ruling and reverse it.”

This court? Not bloody likely, though I agree there a way to fight and even reverse the abuse of Citizens United, Bush v. Gore, the imminent health care reversal etc., and that’s to vote strategically this fall based on whom you would rather have making the next Supreme Court nomination. Whether you like the available candidates (or parties - or system) or not the next president will be in a position to either break the current 5/4 logjam or shore it up for generations to come. Whine all you want about how politics is pandering bullshit (agreed), both parties are the same (your point being?), Ron Paul never got a break or whatever, but in the end the one result of this election that really does matter is entirely in your hands. Please don’t blow it.

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By RobertColgan, April 23, 2012 at 7:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So those who give money will be able to
control who gets elected…....?

This is progress…? . . . . How???????

How is this any different than C-United??

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By rbe4free, April 23, 2012 at 7:02 am Link to this comment

So we have to buy our votes too now?

Ridiculous!

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