The conservative majority on the US Supreme Court has widened the gap between conservative and liberal politics in its Tuesday Judgement in McCoutcheon v. Federal Election Commission. http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-536_e1pf.pdf
It has also widened the gap in power between the rich and the poor.
The decision ( a 5 – 4 split) advanced the philosophy of the Citizens United case by removing 2-year limits to individuals’ contribution to political candidates.
The Court, once again, based its decision on the first amendment – that spending money on candidates is an unfettered necessity or even,somehow, a type of expression that must be protected .
Here is the essence of the judgment, as reported in the New York Times:
Chief Justice Roberts said the core purpose of the First Amendment was to protect political speech from government interference, even if many people might welcome it.
“They would be delighted to see fewer television commercials touting a candidate’s accomplishments or disparaging an opponent’s character,” he wrote. “Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so, too, does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests and Nazi parades — despite the profound offense such spectacles cause — it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.”
Notionally, I find the analysis confusing. I have trouble comparing the spending of money in support of expression to actual expression (be it speech, events or symbols). In a way, it seems to almost make spending itself a form of expression. It appears that the Republican caucus would applaud this, but I doubt that it is what John, Thomas, Benjamin and the boys had in mind.
I think that, in Canada, limitation on campaign financing would be considered a reasonable limit in a free and democratic society, per s.1 of our Charter. This reflects the difference in our approach to government – we see government as a legitimate actor in our democracy more than as a potential threat to the “pursuit of happiness” to be kept at bay.
(Wonder if the Kochs are happy today?)
In any case the matter further empowers the 1% in seeking the hearts and minds of the electors, and it further underlines the widening gap in the world view of the American left and right – a dangerous situation in a two-party system.