Effects of Citizen United on the 2012 elections | My Paper Hub
Citizens United is an organization in the United S...
Citizens United is an organization in the United States
that does not operate on profit and that focuses on conservatism. The scenario
that is commonly related to the organization is the particular Supreme Court
Case ‘Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission,” which attempted to
ascertain the legality of specific aspects of campaign finance. The ruling that
was made in the case influenced numerous practices that can be condoned during
the election period. The 2012 elections are similarly projected to be
influenced majorly by Citizens United based on the various changes that it has
caused in the election system.
Citizen United’s mission is described to be dedication
to the restoration of the government of the United States to the control of the
‘citizens’. In addition, it is committed to asserting American values that are
linked to freedom of enterprise, national sovereignty and safety and also
limited administration (Wang, 2012). Efforts to ensure this mission is
fulfilled include undertaking of a number of educational projects like advertisements
in the media, through televisions.
The Supreme Court decision in 2010 made several changes
on election legislations. The major change is the permission to corporations to
offer unregulated electioneering contributions from their general treasury funds
to particular candidates vying for political positions as well as causes that
are politically inclined (Toobin, 2012). As a result of this and other key
changes, the November 2012 election is projected to be characterized by a
completely new wave of exceptional election spending as well as negative
Spending by outside groups that aim to influence the
outcomes of an election or that support a specific candidate has been
increasing since corporations got the freedom to contribute funds in the
election campaign process (Wang, 2012). By November 2012 this outside spending
is predicted to have reached extraordinary levels. The total spending through
March 8 in individual cycles of election shows a trend that can be used to
predict the amount of outside spending in the 2012 election. Comparing election
cycles for several years, outside spending through March 8 in 2012, amounts to
slightly less than 90 million U.S. dollars (Millhiser, 2012). This amount is
double that spent in the 2008 election in a similar cycle. Another indicator of
the possible extreme outside spending, influenced by Citizens United, is the
over nine times increase in outside spending between the 2006 congressional
election year and the 2010 congressional election year. Also, it is apparent
that Citizen United is leading to increased outside spending whereby in 2010
the spending reached approximately 15.9 million dollars, a figure that is
considerably high compared to the 1.8 million dollars that was spent in the
2009 midterm cycle (Millhiser, 2012).
Conservative groups are the ones majorly involved in
this change in outside spending and these groups alone will most probably spend
finances in excess of a billion dollars in their efforts to take down the
current President, Barack Obama. Many citizens share the Sentiment that Citizen
United has resulted in release of millions of funds from businesses and the
multimillionaires that run these businesses and created the potential of
American politics being taken over by corporations (Toobin, 2012). Previously, corporations
were restricted from contributing to a candidate or party in the election
process. Now corporations are free to contribute finances and make a direct
case regarding who deserves to be voted for and why and this can be done any
time up to the election date.
There is an alternate view that can be used to explain
the increase in outside spending in recent years during election periods. The
amount of outside money used rose by 164% between 2004 and 2008 and rose 135%
between the next election period (2008 and 2012) (Bai, 2012). This means that
even though outside spending has increased after Citizen United got in action,
the proportion of change from the 2004 to the 2008 to the 2012 presidential
elections has maintained at a significantly consistent level since the
McCain-Feingold was passed (Bai, 2012). This approach also shows that it was
expected for outside spending to increase in major way with or without Citizen
United. Although McCain-Feingold did not intend for this consequence to happen,
political might has been migrating from within the party structure to outside
it since it was passed.
The analysis, therefore, that attributes the rise in
outside spending solely to Citizen United ignores the fact that this election
period (2010 through 2012) are the first election cycles since the McCain-Feingold
was enacted whereby the White House is occupied by a Democrat (Bai, 2012). Rich
Conservatives are therefore inspired and propelled to invest their fortunes to
a president and legislative agenda that they are completely against. It is
hence apparent that even without Citizen United, the common enemy that
conservatives have during this election will cause them to mobilize their
The impact of Citizen United in altering the balance
between the republican and democratic parties permanently might therefore not
be the determining factor. Some argue that Republicans will probably get a
structural advantage that is hard to overcome because of the corporate money.
Between 2004 and 2006, outside spending was dominated by liberals and
similarly, if Romney becomes president, the same case would happen (Bai, 2012).
Negative campaigning is also an impact expected to
result from Citizen United. Fueling massive funds by major corporations into
the campaign process may lead to donations that have an underlying hidden
agenda. Foul play may enter the picture and in the process introduce negative
reasons for supporting and funding parties as well as individual candidates. The
influence of money in the presidential elections has grown exponentially
because of Citizen United (Stones, 2012). This negative campaigning can be seen
in the recent allegations presented by Roger Stones (Republican strategist)
regarding the reason behind the support of the Koch brothers in the Romney
Koch brothers, as claimed by stones, released their full
energy and resources to the Romney campaign so that Paul Ryan can be picked as
Romney’s running mate. The allegations point to July 22 as the day that 100
million dollars was pledged by David Koch in support to SuperPACs as well as
C-4s as long as Ryan got picked (Stone, 2012). The interest in Ryan is partly
because he is best known for championing for ‘top-heavy economic policies’
hence Koch brothers would make much money if he got in office because of
policies such as elimination of capital gains tax (Stones, 2012). Additionally,
if Koch support Ryan to be picked and Ryan plays a key role in the election of
Romney as the president, then the Kochs will have sealed a significant amount
of leverage over Romney’s administration.
In conclusion, Citizen United is expected to impact on
the 2012 presidential elections in several ways although the major influence
will be on amount of outside spending in the elections. This, however, has been
contested as a possible occurrence with or without Citizen United since
statistics show a trend in increase of outside spending since the
McCain-Feingold was enacted. Another impact in the elections is expected to be
negative campaigning which can be illustrated by the recent allegations made by
Stones regarding Koch brothers and the Romney campaign.
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