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Reversing Citizens United: stripping the Roberts 5 of power over elections

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Disenfranchised women and African-Americans prioritized suffrage as their sole issue until it was achieved. The 99% can achieve their own re-enfranchisement by getting money out of politics far more easily and quickly by simply employing the same focus as these earlier heroic movements. Enfranchisement is the only issue, when the leading scholar of the correlation between influence and affluence reports that extensive data shows "influence over actual policy outcomes appears to be reserved almost exclusively for those at the top of the income distribution." What is the point of addressing any other issue when there is no influence by the many to do anything about these other issues that adversely affect them?

Attempting to amend the Constitution to get corporations or money or both out of politics would not only postpone and prolong the effort to the point of exhaustion, it also sends t he dangerously erroneous message that the people do not already have ample constitutional power to force their elected representatives to adopt whatever legislation is necessary to get the court out of elections and private interest money entirely out of politics. 

If the text of any such an amendment resembles Senator Sanders' confusing text, the Court could seize it as an excuse to invalidate the necessary statutory reforms that would otherwise be outside their jurisdiction. A constitutional amendment cannot improve the current situation, since Congress already has greater authority now than the proposed amendment would purport to give. But the amendment effort could do much to harm the necessary goal of getting a comprehensive law enacted and enforced that will succeed in getting money out of politics in the immediate future.

The apologists for plutocracy cannot twist the words of the Constitution so far as to prevent the rescue of democracy itself from an entrenched plutocratic Court. This is ultimately an issue "the People" of the 10th Amendment will decide. Their effort will fall well within the text, history and past judicial and congressional interpretations of the Constitution, not to mention the People's pre-constitutional power sanctified in the Declaration of Independence and preserved in the 10 th Amendment, to overthrow the tyranny of plutocrats and restore a political order that reflects the consent of the governed.

The beauty of the Constitution is that it brought all this power of the People within its four corners. There is no need for an American who seeks the restoration of democracy to stand outside the Constitution and throw bricks at it. Those who are denigrating the Constitution by advocating amendments or a convention to trash it are doing an extreme disservice.  They attack a Constitution which they show little sign of understanding. Meanwhile they are misleading people to stand outside its tradition and authority and therefore implicitly in conflict with, rather than enlisting the support of, the armed forces and officials at all levels of government who have sworn support  to the Constitution.

It would be improper to start a political campaign in the face of contrary letter or spirit of the Constitution. But both the letter and the democratic spirit of the Constitution, as it currently exists, is firmly on the side of a people's campaign to force Congress to get the Court out of elections and money out of politics. There is no need to amend or rewrite the Constitution before the people may exercise their power. Facile insults to the Constitution from professional activists who allege that the Constitution is not up to the task proceed from ignorance of what is in the Constitution. The Constitution already provides the people the power they can exercise right now by taking effective action to force Congress to enact specific legislation as the price of reelection in 2012.


Part 2  How to Force Congress to Enact Comprehensive Legislation to Get Money Out of Politics (MOP) and Enfranchise the 99%

[The forthcoming Part 2 of this article will discuss the enhanced power of single issue voting in a first past the post electoral sysem.  Enfranchisement has always been the focal single issue of every movement of disenfranchised groups, as argued in Part 1. 

 Realization encouraged by the Occupy Movement that money in politics has disenfranchised the 99%, that the corrupt Supreme Court-mandated electoral system is supported by both parties, and that an overwhelming majority of incumbents are mired in this system allows transition to the electoral strategy of issue voting.  Issue voting abandons reliance on serially unrequited hope in the least trusted group of people in the country. It more rationally choses to rely on the transparent knowledge that about 10-20% of voters aggregated in support of single issue voting will be able to oust the average member of Congress who refuses to sponsor the comprehensive Occupy/MOP legislation prior to the next  election.

The Occupy Movement already has support in the range required to implement a single issue voting strategy, it has the non-partisan, candidate-free, movement values to implement the strategy and the digital democracy skills to aggregate its supporters online into a fully transparent single issue force.

This voting strategy can only be used to support a comprehensive solution to the root cause of all other policy distortions, supported by a legitimate strategy that has no contingencies other than the amount of energy - i.e. the level of voter pledges - invested in the strategy] 

Footnote 1 The Citizens United decision had nothing to do with "corporate personhood," contrary to the false assertions of many soundbite analysts and the fundraising pitches of professional activists.  As the Roberts 5 based the decision on the right of real people to hear all the speech that money can buy, "corporate personhood" is not even a side issue. The Supreme Court's 1978 decision in Bellotti expressly eschewed reliance on corporate rights in authorizing corporations to spend money on issue campaigns. As explained here, the concept is an antiquated 19th century donctrine that has had nothing at all to do with the Court's decisions allowing money into politics since 1976. 

The actual issue in Citizens United was the extension of the Bellotti ruling to allow private interest money from any source to influence elections, not just issue campaigns.  How the Roberts 5 framed its decision as protecting the rights of voters whose voting rights are actually diminished by their decision rather than the rights of the corporations who benefit from their decision is key to understanding what the solution to the decision must be: revoking the power of a duplicitous Court operating far past the proper boundary of its legitimate authority, and emphatically not amateur tinkering with a Constitution that is not broken.

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A creative thinker on matters of public policy and art, and a principal researcher. Current focus of work is on the strategies democracies can use to protect against overthrow by corruption, with immediate attention to the mess being made by (more...)
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