The $2 Billion Midterm

This midterm election will be the most expensive in American history due to the landmark Supreme Court decision Citizens United vs. FEC which essentially equates campaign spending with political speech, protecting it under the 1st amendment.

Here are extracts from Justice Stevens dissenting opinion:

In the context of election to public office, the distinction between corporate and human speakers is significant. Although they make enormous contributions to our society, corporations are not actually members of it. They cannot vote or run for office. Because they may be managed and controlled by nonresidents, their interests may conflict in fundamental respects with the interests of eligible voters. The financial resources, legal structure, and instrumental orientation of corporations raise legitimate concerns about their role in the electoral process. Our lawmakers have a compelling constitutional basis, if not also a democratic duty, to take measures designed to guard against the potentially deleterious effects of corporate spending in local and national races

The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare. Unlike our colleagues, they had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings, and when they constitutionalized the right to free speech in the First Amendment , it was the free speech of individual Americans that they had in mind

It might also be added that corporations have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires. Corporations help structure and facilitate the activities of human beings, to be sure, and their “personhood” often serves as a useful legal fiction. But they are not themselves members of “We the People” by whom and for whom our Constitution was established.

Now the Washington Post is reporting that the price tag for this off-year election will be $2,000,000,000– or $4,000,000 for every contested congressional seat.