The FEC has approved campaign donations to the Obama and Romney campaigns via text messages. Simply by texting a certain code, the money will be withdrawn on users’ monthly phone bills. Wondrous!
What can we deduce from this new and easy form of political donations? With the Citizens United v. FEC ruling allowing unlimited campaign contributions from wealthy individuals and corporations, as well as unions (who, to be honest, simply cannot match private entities in this regard), everyday individuals’ contributions will still not be able to compete.
It might be argued that text message donations will have an effect in the aggregate, as small donor contributions did in Obama’s ’08 run, but it is unlikely—the deep pockets of those who control most of America’s wealth will be able to outspend and thus drown out the voice of the plebes.
On a more cynical note, the apparent democratization of donations via text message will symbolically reinforce the argument made by some that money’s role in politics is good and ethical. Money may not be the root of evil in human existence (ignorance probably takes the cake), but money in politics is most definitely a source of great evil.