Mandan News

Dan Ulmer: Who will pay for whose elections?

Okay, so the primary election has passed and “we the people” spoke. Now we’re boning up on who we’re gonna vote for in November when we’ll select a President, a Governor, two members of Congress, legislators that live in even numbered districts, county commissioners, judges and such.

Democracy is really a wonderful invention, unfortunately our capacity to influence elections has been overshadowed by a U.S. Supreme Court called “Citicorp.” This ruling decided that corporations have as many rights as we citizens do… somehow the court concluded that corporations have souls… they don’t.

Corporations are legal paper entities whose sole purpose is to make money… they are composed of people, but they are not people; rather, they are businesses that depend on profits to survive… thus their souls are actually composed of money not people.

So this Supreme Court ruling has skewered America’s political process to the point that you and I are very close to becoming disenfranchised as voters.

Take the Super Pacs where billionaires and millionaires and international conglomerates not only have no limits on how much they can contribute to a political campaign, but worse yet they don’t have to reveal who they are.

The most recent number I heard was that Obama and Romney will each raise and spend a billion dollars on their Presidential campaigns. The number seems to eviscerate the old saying that anyone can become President in our country. Putting together a billion dollars is not something we common voters are capable of gathering together.

If I’m asked at the right time of the month I might be able to donate a few bucks to a political candidate or two, but a million or so is out of my control. It’s also interesting to note that we common voters are limited in what we can contribute to a campaign (depending on the office, individuals are not supposed to contribute more than $5,000 per election cycle).

Yet under the new Super Pacs that the court legalized, there are not only no limits but the contributions are kept secret… thus it will be quite unlikely that we’ll know who brought what candidate to the dance… i.e. who bought whom. And I think that’s a travesty. I know that I can’t do much about a corporation buying candidates, indeed the problem is that we voters will be lambasted with ads, many of which will be totally skewed and we won’t have a clue who bought whom before we vote.

The normality is the scandal here… indeed the candidate with the most money is likely to win because they can buy the media, hire the help, and such… and we voters won’t know who foot what bill. Yes, the Super Pacs aren’t supposed to have anything to do with the candidate’s campaign, but come on, don’t tell me that Super Pacs don’t vet what they do with the candidates they support. We voters are smarter than that.

By the way, you can tell who bought the ad is whether or not the candidate ends their commercial with “I’m Joe Some candidate for dog catcher and I approve this message.” Super Pac commericals will end with some snazzy name like “this ad is brought to you by save us from the idiots.”

The bothersome part to me is that at best we won’t know who bought whom before we vote. Thus I think that all campaigns should have to expose all their supporters at least two weeks before the election so you and I have the time to figure out who’s bringing whom to the dance… i.e. – who bought this candidate this far as indeed major contributors really don’t hand out free money… and for sure corporations never do…

Here’s hoping that you find some candidate out there that’s dancing to the right tune.