Yet another article by an expert in the field restating what I've said since the beginning:
The real meaning of the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United. - By Nathaniel Persily - Slate Magazine
The Floodgates Were Already Open
What will the Supreme Court's campaign finance ruling really change?Citizens United, the fourth in a series of decisions from the Roberts Court that has narrowed or struck down campaign finance regulations, has garnered headlines of shock and awe. But the writing for it has been on the wall since the court's 2007 decision in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life. That case, which interpreted the same provision of the same law as Citizens United, held that corporate and union ads were constitutionally protected so long as they did not explicitly endorse or oppose candidates. The difference now is that corporations and unions can tell you directly who to vote for. In other words, before Citizens United, a corporation or union could sponsor ads with its treasury funds that said "Tell Congressman Smith to stop destroying America." After Citizens United, they can add at the end "and, by the way, don't vote for him."
The difference is an important one for constitutional theorists. But blaming this decision for opening the floodgates to corporate cash simply ignores recent history. The gates were already wide open. Any flood that swamps candidates in the 2010 election could have been unleashed even before the court's most recent decision.But will the corporations in fact spend all the new millions being predicted? Remember that in the wake of McCain-Feingold, the assumption was that corporations would simply funnel their money into shadowy interest groups, such as 527s. In fact, although such groups blossomed, they did so mainly with contributions from individuals, not companies. Rather than consistently trying to buy influence through TV ads, corporations may more often be on the receiving end when politicians shake them down for campaign cash. Perhaps the stimulus, TARP, and a new age of increased government regulation of industry have restruck the balance. Or perhaps, as was historically the case, corporations will continue to spend much more on lobbying, which has often proved a more efficient means of influencing policy. If so, then the world of corporate influence in the immediate aftermath of Citizens United may not look much different than the world that preceded it.
People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf.
Kinda reminds me of the one and only Ted Turner-produced "New Jonny Quest" I ever watched, where some no-name corporation had a facility somewhere in the Everglades, and Pristine Local Tribe attacked them because they were Doing Evil(TM). They never said exactly what evil, but you know it had to be Doing Evil(TM). Why? Duh. Because it's a corporation.
2001-2008: Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.
2009-2016: Dissent is the highest form of racism.
2017-? (Probably): Dissent is the highest form of misogyny.