The dirty little secret about all campaign finance laws passed by Congress since 1972 is that they were designed to protect incumbents by stifling competition.
The Supreme Court ruling in the Citizens United case means that the anti-incumbent furor that has been growing is partly released from the shackles created by “incumbent protection” election and campaign finance laws.
This ruling is especially important for advocacy causes and organizations, which may now more freely express opinions about incumbents.
In the 1960s, I began using direct mail to finance political campaigns from tens of thousands of small donors, thereby greatly increasing re-election problems for incumbents.
As insurgents began to rely on new, alternative sources (direct mail and Internet) to finance challenges to incumbents, Congress began to pass incumbent-protection laws.
Congress passed anti-democratic, anti-free-and-fair election laws to make it much more difficult for outsiders, nonprofits, and other independent causes to criticize and challenge incumbents.
The timing of the Supreme Court’s First Amendment ruling, combined with the anti-incumbent rage of voters and activists, couldn’t be worse for incumbents, and couldn’t be better for independent grass-roots causes that seek to challenge the corrupt status quo.
The American voter is growing increasingly anti-establishment and anti-big government, as we saw in the Massachusetts Senate election. People are becoming focused on how the Establishment (incumbents) is using its power to gain unfair advantages — from winning elections to financial gain.
The Supreme Court decision will increase the number of incumbents (Republican and Democratic) that will decide not to run for re-election this year in order to “spend more time with their family.”
Richard A. Viguerie pioneered the use of direct mail in political campaigns and has been called “one of the creators of the modern conservative movement” (The Nation magazine) and one of the “conservatives of the century” (The Washington Times). He is the co-author of “America’s Right Turn, How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to Take Power.”
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