The Harbinger Online

When Money Talks


In reaction to the recent Supreme Court ruling, the Harbinger believes that removing that campaign donation limit gives a louder voice to the rich

In an effort to protect First Amendment rights during election season, the Supreme Court ruled last week to repeal election donor spending caps. This ruling will allow corporations and individual to pour unlimited sums into campaigns. The Harbinger believes that this decision will only benefit a small, elite group of wealthy Americans, who will thus be capable of making disproportionate impacts on the campaign process. Therefore, this ruling will hinder the free speech of the common American.

Before this ruling, there were two spending caps for individual election donors: $48,600 to all federal candidates and $74,600 to all political committees. Yet according to the Huffington Post, only 646 of the millions of donors in the 2012 elections met this cap. The 5-4 Supreme Court ruling empowers this small percentage of corporate donors to contribute millions to campaigns, giving a skewed image of the American public’s opinion.

In a demographic study by the Open Secrets organization, it was reported that only 0.12 percent of Americans contributed more than $200 in donations during the 2013-2014 year. This tiny percentage of the public was able to make a huge impact by funding campaigns, politicians and local elections, yet their voices are not necessarily accurate in representing the opinions of the nation.

It’s naïve to believe that money will not influence politics. It is impossible to have a government rid completely of the sway of money. However, it is the duty of the Supreme Court to defend the common man against this corruption. The court’s ruling has taken a step backward in the defense of the common American by strengthening an elite group, and its consequences will be uncertain until the 2016 election.

It is a travesty to allow individuals and corporations to sway elections. The purpose of democracy is to give voice to the everyday American — the people who can only contribute a ballot, not a donation, to the election process. These are the individual voices that should decide an election. These are the individuals whose voices will taper and diminish if an elite few are allowed to contribute unfettered sums to the political process.

The decision is not yet final. A Senate committee chaired by Chuck Schumer will be holding hearings in response to backlash over the issue. In the meantime, it will be the role of the average American — that 99.88 percent who remain unchanged by the ruling — to make their voices louder in order to prevent, in the words of Philadelphia Magazine’s Joel Mathis, “the New Gilded Age.”

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