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.”
A look inside the Koch brothers’ secret plan to manipulate politicians — and how it fueled the rise of the radical right
Democrats and Republicans are expected to spend about $1 billion getting their 2016 nominee elected. There’s a third group that will spend almost as much. It’s not a political party, and it doesn’t have any candidates. It’s the right-wing political network backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David Koch, expected to spend nearly $900 million in 2016. The Kochs’ 2016 plans come as part of an effort to funnel hundreds of millions of dollars to conservative candidates and causes over the last four decades. The story of the Koch brothers and an allied group of billionaire donors is told in a new book by New Yorker reporter Jane Mayer, “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.” Mayer traces how the Kochs and other billionaires have leveraged their business empires to shape the political system in the mold of their right-wing agenda.
New video emerges of Trump blurting out anti-Semitic slurs
President Donald Trump this week said that the majority of American Jews were "disloyal" to Israel because they support the Democratic Party -- but that's far from the first time that the president has made controversial statements that deploy anti-Semitic tropes.
The Washington Post has obtained a video clip from 2011 that shows Trump boasting about how great one of his golf courses is before saying that "even these spoiled, rich Jewish guys, they can’t believe how good this [course] is."
The clip was originally aired on the Golf Channel for the show "Donald J. Trump's Fabulous World of Golf."
Trump snaps after ‘enemy’ Fed chairman doesn’t drop interest rates — compares him to China’s Xi
President Donald Trump flipped out on his Federal Reserve chairman after China imposed a new round of tariffs in his ongoing trade war against the economic powerhouse.
The president lashed out at Fed chairman Jerome Powell after he refused to budge on interest rates, and referred to the official he chose as an "enemy" of the United States.
"As usual, the Fed did NOTHING!" Trump raged on Twitter. "It is incredible that they can 'speak' without knowing or asking what I am doing, which will be announced shortly. We have a very strong dollar and a very weak Fed. I will work 'brilliantly' with both, and the U.S. will do great.."