POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JEFFREY SIMPSON IN TORONTO'S GLOBE AND MAIL
The American Supreme Court has always, except for a brief few decades during the 20th century, been an institution for freezing progress.
This view of corporate spending as free speech is, in many ways, comparable to the Dred Scott Decision before the Civil War.
Runaway slaves were still someone's property and needed to be returned.
So far as this decision goes, it's back to the political jungle, although, in truth, American politics never quite left it behind since even the spending reform was not that awesome.
Money in America simply overrides democratic process on average.
When America was founded, a privileged local aristocracy ruled. About 1% of people in Virginia could vote (only white males of a certain wealth). The Senate was appointed (till 1913). The President was elected by the Electoral College, an elite of those with money. The “popular” vote – the 1% - did not even matter, the College elites did (they still do, but at least their votes are apportioned).
Well, some of that has changed, but along the way, American politics also has adapted to maintain a political reality not far from that of 1789 in many ways: the way that is done is with money for marketing and advertising and “exposure.” Tons of it.
In economics, with imperfect competition, we know barriers to entry of a market are vital, and barriers include tons of advertising, paying stores “shelf money” to pack the shelves with your line of products, and slightly differentiating your product from someone else’s – all making it near impossible for upstarts.
American national politics, effectively a duopoly between two parties through many rigged local regulations, exploits all of these practices.
Of course, the money also buys “face time” after elections. In any large American state, it is literally impossible to meet a Senator, much less have some time, unless you are a large money-supplier.