Citizens in dozens of communities voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for their legislators to pass a constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which opened the door for the super-rich and corporations to trample democracy.
As they headed to the polls to vote in what turned out to be the most expensive midterm election in history—one in which outside money from undisclosed sources played an outsized role and the number of small individual donors shrank—voters across the country made clear their desire to end corporate personhood and get big money out of politics.
According to Wisconsin Move to Amend, the state chapter of the national coalition working to overturn Citizens United, residents of 12 Wisconsin communities voted in favor of amending the U.S. Constitution to reflect that:
1. Only human beings—not corporations, limited liability companies, unions, nonprofit organizations, or similar associations—are endowed with Constitutional rights; and
2. Money is not speech and, therefore, regulating political contributions and spending is not equivalent to limited political speech.
The local measures, which were all similarly worded, gained anywhere from 70 percent of the vote in Milwaukee County to 83 percent support in the village of Park Ridge. There are now 54 jurisdictions in Wisconsin that have called for such an amendment, in addition to 16 state legislatures and well over 500 municipalities nationwide.
Paradoxically, Wisconsin voters also re-elected Republican Governor Scott Walker on Tuesday, whose success can be credited at least in part to the post-Citizens United era of campaign finance.
In 2012, in the wake of the failed effort to recall Walker, journalist Amy Goodman wrote: “Central to Walker’s win was a massive infusion of campaign cash, saturating the Badger State with months of political advertising. His win signals less a loss for the unions than a loss for our democracy in this post-Citizens United era, when elections can be bought with the help of a few billionaires.”
Also on Tuesday, Move to Amend measures in Alachua County, Florida and the Ohio towns of Chagrin Falls and Mentor all passed with at least two-thirds of the vote.
“It’s pretty obvious that in each and every election that more and more money is coming from fewer sources,” Ohio’s Move to Amend coordinator Greg Coleridge told the Plain Dealer. “It’s toxic to democracy. Voters are saying that they’ve had enough.”
In Massachusetts, voters in 18 districts were asked: “Shall the state representative from this district be instructed to vote in favor of a resolution calling upon Congress to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution affirming that 1) rights protected under the Constitution are the rights of natural persons only and 2) both Congress and the states may place limits on political contributions and political spending?”
While there was no official tally of which cities and towns voted in favor of the non-binding ballot question, the measure appeared to have won solid support in communities all over the state, including Appleton, Fitchburg, and Hopkinton.
The resounding victories should send a sharp message to Congress, said Kaitlin Sopoci-Belknap, national director of Move to Amend.
“Nearly all Americans share the sentiment that corporations should not have the same rights as people, and big money in politics should be removed,” she said. “It is time for Congress to pass the We the People Amendment and send it to the states for ratification. The leadership of both parties need to realize that their voters are clamoring for this amendment, and we are only going to get louder.”
‘Breonna’s Law’ legislator arrested by Louisville police for first-degree rioting: report
A spokesman for a police union in Louisville announced on Thursday that the only black woman in the Kentucky legislator had been arrested while protesting the lack of charges for the killing of Breonna Taylor by the Louisville Metro Police Department.
"Kentucky State Rep. Attica Scott, author of legislation known as "Breonna’s Law," was arrested with others Thursday evening during protests demanding justice for Breonna Taylor," WDRB-TV reports. "Scott, a Louisville Democrat, was among a group of individuals arrested near the main branch of the Louisville Free Public Library and First Unitarian Church at the intersection of South Fourth and York streets, according to Tracy Dotson, a spokesman for Louisville Corrections Lodge #77 Fraternal Order of Police union. Scott was charged with first-degree rioting and failure to disperse, Dotson said."
WATCH: Late-night hosts go off on Trump for ‘chilling’ plan ‘to steal the election’
Late-night television hosts harshly criticized President Donald Trump for refusing to say there would be a peaceful transition of power if he loses the November election.
"In one of the more chilling moments of his presidency -- and they've been a few -- Donald Trump refused to commit to a peaceful transition of power as Republicans formulated the plan to steal the election through the courts," Seth Meyers explained.
"We're as close as we've ever been to losing our democracy and watching our government transform into an autocratic regime," he continued. "It's happen right in front our eyes right now, you don't need to wait for Trump to roll down Pennsylvania Avenue on a tank in green fatigues with a long chin-beard -- especially since if he did try to grow one he'd probably just look like a very sick chihuahua."
White supremacist gang member shot dead after ambushing police in California: report
Authorities in California on Thursday announced that one man was dead after a shootout with law enforcement.
"A white supremacist gang member was killed in a gun battle with law enforcement after he ambushed and shot a deputy pursuing him Thursday near the Templeton Cemetery, Sheriff Ian Parkinson said at a news conference," The Triubune reported Thursday.
"According to Parkinson, a sheriff’s deputy was driving in the Theatre Drive area around 10:20 a.m. when the deputy recognized the car of a wanted felon parked on the side of the road. The deputy made a U-turn and pulled up next to the vehicle, which was unoccupied. The deputy then proceeded north and found the man walking on Cemetery Road off Theatre Drive near the Templeton Cemetery, Parkinson said. He said the deputy tried to make a pedestrian traffic stop, but the man took off running toward the cemetery," the newspaper reported.