With the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United vs. FEC, a flood of money has been entering the 2012 Presidential, Senate and House races, not to mention gubernatorial and state legislative campaigns. Whereas President Obama collected a majority of his $750 million in campaign money from small donors, there has been a fundamental shift toward Super PACs: a collection of billionaire and millionaire donors.
Granted, Democrats are free to enjoy the money of Super PACs and have, but not to the degree of the GOP, which, according to Politico, is aiming for a $1 billion ‘blitz’ in outside money. This in addition to the $800 million expected to be generated by the the Romney campaign and the Republican National Committe.” According to officials in the budgeting of these groups on the right and left, the GOP could outspend the Democrats 2-to-1.
The spending is no guarantee of electoral success, but a 2-to-1 ratio of expenditures does allow the GOP to significantly paint its propagandistic portrait all across the country on TV, radio, digital advertising and in print. It allows a group such as Crossroads GPS (formed by Karl Rove) to sell lies as they did in ads against Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, who is running for a Senate seat.
In one ad, Crossroads GPS stated that Kaine turned a $1 billion surpless into a $3.7 billion budget deficit. As Businessweek noted, it is “an assertion disputed by independent fact-checking organizations,” including Factcheck.org, which found that “Kaine actually trimmed spending to balance the budget, as required by state law.”
Impressionable voters are susceptible to this sort of blatant lie and propaganda. True believers typically vote for their preferred party, but the GOP ads are aimed not at influencing this bloc, but the psyche of swing voters—those voters who “swing” back and forth between the two parties.
But, hey, money is free speech, right? And millionaires and billionaires like Koch brothers have more of a right to influence the direction of the country than we do. Why? In their arrogance they believe that the country exists to serve them.