US Citizens – The Presidency Sold to the Highest Bidder.
(ThyBlackMan.com) The monthly racket surrounding the release of how much President Obama and Mitt Romney raised for their campaigns reminds me of a fast talking auctioneer. The race for the White House is not only a horse race between the two men running for President but it is a pound for pound contest settled by weighted money bags. A contest the President has lost for the last three months.
Before Mitt Romney emerged as the official front runner and Republican nominee in waiting there was talk of President Obama being “the billion dollar man.” Now all that talk is silenced as the President is continuously beaten in the money race. For July Mitt Romney raised $101 million. The President only raised $75 million. As both candidates increase the number of fundraisers they attend and limit the number of public rallies to just a few stops in the most key of the key swing states, it begs the question, “On election night will our country be bought and sold to the highest bidder?”
Some Democratic strategists are worried but not really. Others say Obama will clean house election day no matter what. But no matter who wins November 6, 2012, the days of the small campaign donor making a difference in National politics is over. The days of the President and his opponent — whom ever they may be — courting votes and donations with change buckets and mega phones on street corners is over.
The Supreme Court decision in Citizens United is to thank for this wonderful turn in election tide. Giving corporations the same free speech and electioneering rights as people diminishes what little power plebiscites held on to in favor of a government for and by the wealthy. The current campaign conditions call to mind the criticism by Cornel West of President Obama. While I and many others dismissed the comment that “President Obama has a fear of free Black men and is a puppet for corporate plutocrats and mascot for Wall Street oligarchs” as foolery by a man with a bruised ego. I must say the statement haunts me though applied to a much wider representation.
Neither President Obama and hopefully not Mitt Romney are afraid of free Black men. I believe they are afraid of free votes. Votes by people un-influenced by negative ad campaigns. Votes by people un-influenced by bright smiles, an exuberant wave of the hand, or 45 minute speeches that say a lot without saying anything substantive. I believe both Mitt Romney and President Obama — who publicly denounced the Supreme Court decision — are happy to have corporations as people even if one is at a severe monetary disadvantage.
The pros and cons of the Citizens United decision remind me of the pro and con case made for Stand Your Ground Laws. In Stand Your Ground researchers found although many Black men are victimized by this law just as many if not more have been able to claim this law to get off the hook for a murder. Something similar is happening with Citizens United. While President Obama — who cruised to victory in 2008 thanks to small donations — is against the decision it has helped him benefit as large Democratic backers such as unions throw money at his re-election campaign.
With both sides benefitting from this depraved ruling the integrity of American elections is lost. Adding insult to injury are the crop of new voting rules and laws in effect in states across the country. Not just voter ID but the limits on early voting and voter registration drives harken not just back to a time of poll taxes and voter tests before being able to cast a ballot, but back to a time when the only people who could vote in an election were land owning White men. Prosperous men who mostly lived in the South and made their fortunes off of the Black backs of free labor and King Cotton.
While such a drastic repeat of history legally can not happen thanks to the 15th and 19th Amendment and the Voting Rights Act does not mean the right of the vote will not be limited.
Citizens United limits campaigns to only focus on the wealthy. The electoral college limits campaigns to focus only on states whose November outcome is unknown. New voter laws limit campaigns to court the vote of voters who are young, mobile, and ethnically neutral. Such limitations strain the voting populace to such a select few that by the time election day comes those in attendance could make up the same elite class attending a Sotheby’s or Christie’s auction.
The erosion of voting rights and the expansion of campaign donors leaves citizens on election day clamoring for a piece of the Presidential action. Waving number paddles in favor or against a specific candidate in an unnecessary show of support as the winner of the Presidential prize is decided in a covert mission over the phone or a back room payola deal that’s guised to look like the will of the people.
Staff Writer; Nikesha Leeper
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