Ever since the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, Democrats and President Obama have been pushing for campaign finance reform. It quickly became apparent that the ruling, which gave corporations the ability to donate to campaigns as if they were people, would destroy the integrity of our electoral process. The last three elections have been the most expensive elections in American history, thanks to an unbelievable amount of money being pumped into elections by the top one percent income earners. At least we thought it was the top one percent; much to our horror we are now learning that the one percent are not the ones who have begun controlling elections, but the 0.01 percent. That is the one percent of the one percent, the richest of the rich.
Crowdpac, a website that provides gathers and analyzes political data, has illustrated what’s happening in the following chart:
As you can see from the chart, only about 16 percent of the total campaign contributions came from the most elite Americans in 1980. Over the years the number has steadily increased and after the Citizens United ruling there was a huge spike, as billionaires began funneling their wealth into super-PACs across the country. Suddenly, over 40 percent of the money spent on elections is coming from the wealthiest people in our country, and if it continues at this rate, it will soon be over 50 percent.
That means that the richest of the rich, 25,000 people, are completely drowning out the voices of roughly 125 million other registered voters.
This is why Democrats are pushing so hard for campaign finance reform. This country prides itself on free and fair elections but all of that is on the verge of collapsing, unless we demand change. The only way we take our country back from elitists is getting out and making our voices heard.
Call your Congressman, your Senators and demand a constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United. Vote for Democrats, and take back Congress for the American people. There’s forces in our party that are ready to take this fight all the way, like Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, but they need the legislative power to do so. The obstructionist Republicans have accomplished nothing with their majorities, and we need to punish them for it. This cannot continue, for the sake of the oldest democracy in the world and the freedoms that we hold so dearly.
Colin Taylor is the editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.