The continuing consequences of the Citizens United SCOTUS ruling
While alternating between xenophobia and misogyny, Donald Trump stumbled into the truth. He found that his fellow presidential candidates were nothing more than puppets for the super-rich. Jimmy Carter observed that America is a “new oligarchy with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nomination for president.” America’s super-rich are lavishing megabucks on their favorite puppets.
Ted Cruz has collected $46.1 million from just four donors. Farris and Dan Wilks (fracking moguls) gave him $15 million and hedge fund manager and alleged tax cheat Robert Mercer chipped in $11.1 million. Engineering company owner and big-game hunter Toby Neugebauer shelled out $10 million. Who do you think will have the most influence with Cruz—Joe the Plumber or one of the aforementioned billionaires?
Marco Rubio is working hard to become the face of American plutocracy. His PAC has raised $16.1 million, 71 percent of which comes from just four donors. Billionaires Laurence Ellison (Oracle) gave $3 million, Laura Pearlmutter (Marvel Entertainment) gave $2 million, Benjamin Leon (Besilu Stables) gave $2.5 million, but Rubio’s big “sugar daddy” is Norman Braman, who has already given $5 million. Braman was a huge contributor to Jeb Bush when he ran for governor. When Bush was elected, he attempted to micromanage Bush on line items in the Florida budget.
Then there is Jeb Bush. He has 24 donors that have given a million or more. His donor base is so rich, he has asked them to reduce the size of their gifts.
If we want to see the future of corporate kleptocracy, we should visit Wisconsin. Some refer to it as “Wississippi” because Scott Walker has turned the state and its revered university into a “failed state” on par with Mississippi. The state debt is exploding, working-class income is dropping, and the university is struggling to stay afloat financially—but Walker’s political donors are doing very well.
Walker has essentially stolen money from the working class and given it to billionaires who supported his election. He created the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation in 2011 to funnel money to his donors, 60 percent of the $1.14 billion went to donors who had contributed more than $2.1 million to his campaign. Billionaires Marc Lasry, Wes Edens, Jamie Dinans, and Jon Hannes received $250 million in taxpayer money to build an arena for their NBA team.
These Walker supporters’ combined net worth is more than $8 billion. This outrageous tax expenditure was in a city (Milwaukee) where black poverty is highest in the nation (38 percent), a rate is even higher than that of Detroit.
So when you hear Bob Corker say that money is “speech” in support of the outrageous Supreme Court decision in Citizens United, feel free to laugh out loud. You can be secure in the knowledge that money is an instrument of the plutocracy to oppress the American working class.
It is hard to hear the cries of ordinary Americans over the deafening roar of Big Money and their political puppets. Sorry, Bob, but your strings are showing.
Terry Stulce is a native Tennessean, born in Birchwood and raised on a farm in Ooltewah. He attended the University of Tennessee on an ROTC scholarship and graduated magna cum laude in 1967. He served two combat tours in Vietnam, one with the 101st Airborne and one with the 69th Border Rangers.