Thursday, April 03, 2014
The Supreme Court has struck down restrictions on total dollar amounts donors can give to political campaigns. Progressives are howling. Their complaint is that big money interests will buy elections from now on. Apparently they forgot history. The flow of cash to campaigns historically was uncontrolled and the country functioned well. If you have trouble believing that statement, consult the Caro biography of Lyndon Johnson. That was when cash gushed from Texas oil interests and few knew about it. Before Johnson, there was Mark Hanna of Ohio. Before them, others. Campaign cash has sloshed through the system since the beginning of the country, and yet, the United States have not foundered but once when the North and South went to war. That had nothing to do with how much one spent on getting elected. The playing field has never been level and never will be, but just because one candidate has a louder voice than another does not guarantee that noise will make the difference. As PR practitioners skilled in the art and craft of persuasion, we know how difficult it is. We should give the public more credit and realize that as imperfect as voters are, they do come to their own decisions for reasons that might have nothing to do with campaign messages. In other words, money alone is not a guarantee of political success. Kudos to the Supreme Court for recognizing that and for upholding Free Speech.