RSN Fundraising Banner
FB Share
Email This Page
add comment
Print

Sanders writes: "Today is the sixth-year anniversary of Citizens United, one of the most disastrous Supreme Court decisions in my lifetime. This decision hinges on the absurd notion that money is speech, that corporations are people, and that giving huge piles of undisclosed cash in support of politicians in exchange for influence does not constitute corruption."

Bernie Sanders. (photo: Arun Chaudhary)
Bernie Sanders. (photo: Arun Chaudhary)


Citizens United

By Bernie Sanders, Reader Supported News

24 January 16

 

ery little will ever get done until we reform our broken and corrupt campaign finance system. I hear about it everyday. The economic and political systems in this country are stacked against ordinary Americans. The rich get richer and use their wealth to buy elections.

Today is the sixth-year anniversary of Citizens United, one of the most disastrous Supreme Court decisions in my lifetime. This decision hinges on the absurd notion that money is speech, that corporations are people, and that giving huge piles of undisclosed cash in support of politicians in exchange for influence does not constitute corruption.

In essence, this ruling handed millionaires and billionaires — who have already rigged our economy — unlimited influence in our elections. It gave billionaires like the Koch Brothers an even bigger opportunity to purchase the House, the Senate, even the White House.

Super PACs — a direct outgrowth of the Citizens United decision — are enabling the wealthiest people and the largest corporations in this country to spend unlimited amounts on elections.

We know, for example, that the Koch brothers, the second wealthiest family in America, want to use the Citizens United decision to buy politicians across the country. This election cycle alone, they have committed to spend at least $750 million on political activities — an outrageous sum that is corrupting our political process. And I can assure you, brothers and sisters, they won’t be spending that money with the interests of working families, women, and seniors in mind. That is simply unacceptable, and it’s time for the American people to rise up and reclaim our democracy.

Let’s be honest and acknowledge what we are talking about. We are talking about a rapid movement in this country towards a political system in which a handful of very wealthy people and special interests will determine who gets elected or who does not get elected. That is not what this country is supposed to be about. That was not Abraham Lincoln’s vision of a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The need for real campaign finance reform is not a progressive issue. It is not a conservative issue. It is an American issue. It is an issue that should concern all Americans, regardless of their political point of view, who wish to preserve the essence of the longest standing democracy in the world — a government that represents all of the people and not a handful of powerful and wealthy special interests.

Our campaign is doing so well because we are telling the truth about the reality of American life today. We are talking about a reality in which most of the new wealth and income in this country are going to the top one percent while working families are struggling more than at any point since the Great Depression.

My vision for American democracy is a nation in which all people, regardless of their income, can participate in the political process, and can run for office without begging for contributions from the wealthy and the powerful. While other politicians will make you the same promise, I am the only candidate running for the Democratic nomination who does not have a super PAC. And I am the only one who is telling the truth about the corrupting influence of Wall Street bankers and the obscenely wealthy in our elections.

We have to create a political revolution where working Americans come together to say they have had ENOUGH of the billionaire class buying our elections to enrich themselves while everyone else gets poorer. More than ever, we need a president who has a firm commitment to the American people — and no one else.

Our vision for democracy should be one in which candidates are speaking to the vast majority of our people – working people, the middle class, low-income people, the elderly, the children, the sick, and the poor – and discussing with them their ideas as to how we can improve lives for all people in this country.

I believe this vision of American can be a reality once again. We just have to do something unprecedented in the coming months — defy the odds and win the Democratic nomination for President of the United States.

In solidarity,
Bernie Sanders


e-max.it: your social media marketing partner
 

Comments   

A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

 
+22 # Inspired Citizen 2016-01-24 10:07
Sanders is running a great campaign, but he's up against a fixed system and the corporate-orien ted media. The Bernie or bust pledge levels the playing field by giving him leverage and the Convention insurance he'll need. Have YOU take the pledge yet?

http://BernieorBust.org
 
 
# Guest 2016-01-25 14:04
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+44 # Hank 2016-01-24 10:18
Regardless of Hilary's experience, if this country is to survive with any regard for individuals, we need to make some drastic changes. Bernie is a maverick, the only candidate who really speaks of changes that will alter what is wrong with our country. Yes, he is bucking the system, which will not be easy. But with the support necessary for him to be elected, he will be empowered to begin to bring this country to a more stable foundation. It is time for sanity to rule the defense budget and our resources be used to improve our infrastructure. Doing so will also provide sustainable jobs for those under employed and increase tax revenues.
If we are truly a country with Christian values, maybe we need a Jewish president to remind us we do not need to neglect our most vulnerable citizens and to cease making wealth by creating mechanisms of death.
 
 
+17 # PaulK 2016-01-24 11:54
I'm trying to count up the number of elections that Bernie Sanders has won. It might be 14. Wikipedia isn't that clear. Hillary Clinton has won two elections on her own in her lifetime. That's not political experience.
 
 
+4 # Street Level 2016-01-24 17:37
Three, counting Bill's.
 
 
+20 # diamondmarge7 2016-01-24 11:26
Hank,
I'll take wisdom over experience, especially if that experience was always "shoot first, stand in open-mouthed amazement as the disastrous human cost of that hawkish stance unfolds. SlickWillieShil larytheHawk's entire career has been to shoot first. Libya, Iraq, younameit, HRC's vaunted experience is lousy. OTOH, Sanders says that violence/war should always be a LAST resort. The Clinton's boast of her experience thus turns out to be a hoax; as Shakespeare wrote, it is "full of sound and fury,signifying nothing."
 
 
+1 # vilstef 2016-01-24 11:45
diamondmarge7 wrote:

SlickWillieShil larytheHawk's entire career has been to shoot first. Libya, Iraq, younameit
----------------
I'm just waiting for the Han Solo excuse: Greedo shot first!
 
 
+18 # futhark 2016-01-24 11:27
The great wisdom of the founders of the American Republic was that they understood the necessity of adaptive change in government and attempted to provide through the Constitution a process by which that change could be made most economically and with the least disruption of public order, the least bloodshed, and the least destruction of property. We have only had one major breakdown (1861-65) in almost 240 years, remarkable longevity for any form of government.

Now we face a situation that is in some way comparable to that of America in the 1850s, when we had a country that was half slave and half free, only this time the divide is between an exploitive power elite with a death grip on the reins of government and the rest of the population, who deserve their fair share of security, liberty, and political representation. Senator Sanders seems to be the only presidential candidate currently in the field who articulates a position that can be likened to that of the abolitionists, that justice requires an equality of access to the common social benefits.
 
 
+8 # diamondmarge7 2016-01-24 11:30
PS,
I also agree w/Inspired Citizen:
BERNERS should 'take the pledge," of writing in BERNIE's name or VotingGreen. The higher the # of pledgees, the greater the leverage BERNIE will have @ the Dem's Convention. This leverage will help win the Dems'nomination for BERNIE, which is otherwise promised to 'the establishment.' A pledgee is NOT throwing away his/her vote; it is the opposite: his/her pledge is empowering BERNIE. www.citizensagainstplutocracy.org. Take the pledge; it's the right thing to do. Just do it! And--knock on doors, phonebank, donate. BERNERS, ya gotta do more than sit on your duff & post. Get out & get active!
 
 
+16 # renet39 2016-01-24 11:36
I read an article on another website that Citizen' United ought to be challenged on an equal opportunity argument. This makes sense to me. I'm reminded of Orwell's "Animal Farm" when the animals took over the farm using the slogan "All Animals are Created Equal." Gradually the pigs gained ascendency and took power with a variation on the slogan "All Animals are Created Equally--But Some Are More Equal Than Others." Citizen's United has created a class of people who are now legally more equal than others when it comes to politics. In fact way way more equal. It is the legal foundation for Oligarchy and must be overturned or our democracy is finished.
 
 
+17 # vilstef 2016-01-24 11:39
I'm in whole-hearted agreement with Bernie on the Citizen's United decision. Easily the worse Supreme Court decision of my lifetime, though the Judicial installation of Bush II to the Presidency is a very close second.

It's endorsement day in Iowa. I'm an Iowa guy, and here's what I shared with some friends about them. Link below to NY Times on DM Register endorsements:

Endorsements do not mean very much. Unsurprisingly, the Register endorsed Hillary who is obviously much more to their corporate liking.

Endorsing anyone on the Republican side is an unconscionable act. The Register endorsed Rubio, who isn't as bad as Trump or Cruz, but still has precious little to recommend him. Something I find funny is Jeb keeps sniping at Rubio. Jeb and Rubio are both very partisan, for billionaires at the expense of all others and ready to use personal power to carry out vendettas.

Chuck Grassley is continuing his alzheimers spiral. He has appeared as a speaker at a Trump event.

Trump has nothing. No policy, not a clue on foreign or domestic policy. And all he does is predicated on 'I'm the Donald-and you're not!' All else is insulting women and minorities and calling everyone else losers. He acts like a playground bully, like a fourth grader, the level he speaks to his toady supporters at.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/us/politics/a-day-of-endorsements-for-presidential-candidates-in-iowa.html?emc=edit_th_20160124&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68445437
 
 
+6 # reiverpacific 2016-01-24 13:03
One of the principal -maybe the MOST- significant issues in this election is the future composition of the SCOTUS, which currently, is the most partisan and almost theocratic claque in my memory, with Scalia and Thomas both members of the elitist, secretive Catholic cult "Opus Dei", which should have debarred them from the court in the first place (and any other judgeship).
Can you imagine what ANY of the TeaThuglican bunched-up blowhards would stick you with?
Mind you, Clinton is a bit of a Holy-Roller too but not in the same hypocritical class as any of the others.
I dunno where the Trumpeter is on religion except allegedly "Christian" -hardly reflected in his everyday actions and in complete apposition to the humility suggested by the founder of that faith.
 
 
+1 # tswhiskers 2016-01-24 14:54
I agree with vilstef. Furthermore I fail to see that TV advertising can have such a huge effect on voting behavior. I suppose there are some who pay no attention to political campaign ads, but they say almost nothing beyond advertising a name. Surely even the Kochs, even with their billions, can only cast 2 votes. Perhaps I am naive; I have used the mute button to silence ads, all ads, for so many years that I don't pay much attention to them because I know all of them are simply propaganda, esp. political ads. I therefore assume, perhaps foolishly, that most people block out ads too. But from what the media have been saying the ads aren't working this year; after all they certainly don't say anything beyond the name. I guess I will just hope that people will watch the news (anything but Fox) and will vote for all candidates thoughtfully and carefully.
 
 
+2 # reiverpacific 2016-01-24 15:21
Quoting tswhiskers:
I agree with vilstef. Furthermore I fail to see that TV advertising can have such a huge effect on voting behavior. I suppose there are some who pay no attention to political campaign ads, but they say almost nothing beyond advertising a name. Surely even the Kochs, even with their billions, can only cast 2 votes. Perhaps I am naive; I have used the mute button to silence ads, all ads, for so many years that I don't pay much attention to them because I know all of them are simply propaganda, esp. political ads. I therefore assume, perhaps foolishly, that most people block out ads too. But from what the media have been saying the ads aren't working this year; after all they certainly don't say anything beyond the name. I guess I will just hope that people will watch the news (anything but Fox) and will vote for all candidates thoughtfully and carefully.


I wouldn't count on that in the "United States of Amnesia".
Just look at all the chowderheads waving Trump signs -and that's only part of it; they probably watch that "Fair and Balanced" Fox News and can't see beyond the ends of their nebs! Hate is sexy to these types.
 
 
+4 # Cliff 2016-01-24 15:54
I would like to think that ads never affect me, but they definitely help. Watch for ads that will stoke anger. You may know better, but but there are a lot of followers (sheep) out there.
 
 
+5 # Vardoz 2016-01-24 15:29
Our right wing, politicized Supreme Court want to murder our Democracy and hand over our nation to the wealthiest people at the top. Those won voted for CU are not fit for the offices they hold! They are a serious threat to our health, safety and welfare because those at the top do not care about the 99%.

Bernie Sanders cares and is a huge catalyst for change! So lets make it happen for our lives and our children's lives.
 
 
+4 # Diane_Wilkinson_Trefethen_aka_tref 2016-01-24 19:12
You on the left who have never read the comments on forums that support
1) Open carry for all anywhere (bars, football/soccer games, churches, schools),
2) Banning abortion because it's a human being at the moment of conception,
3) Bombing the those damn Muslims out of existence,
4) Rounding up filthy Latino illegals and mass deporting them,

You have no idea how many and how virulent those people are. They are NOT sheep in the traditional sense because they willingly and with hatred in their hearts enthusiasticall y embrace these ideas.

It is utterly depressing to read their comments but I recommend you do because UNTIL you do, you live in an ivory tower of delusion. Those people are real, hate filled, in my opinion delusional but THEY VOTE TOO and Progressives must contend with them if we are to return America to the ideals of republican democracy upon which she was founded.

BTW, they are also dangerous. It is from their ranks that true domestic terrorists are recruited.
 
 
# Guest 2016-01-25 14:25
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+4 # Terry Allen 2016-01-25 06:06
Bernie is right.....ident ifying the problem is so important and he's got it......and with his addressing the banking problems, particularly wall street. Now comes our part......donat e money and time.....get him elected and THEN the real fight begins, drag congress, both sides kicking and screaming to the fire......chang e or else.....and I mean real change or else. Not the BS slogan we got from Obama...... This is our last chance to do this civilized, next time will be bloody in the midst of chaos.
 
 
# Guest 2016-01-25 14:17
This comment has been deleted by Administrator
 
 
+2 # Working Class 2016-01-25 14:27
The System Isn't Broken - It's Fixed!
 
 
0 # Robbee 2016-01-25 15:40
bernie asked these GOP trolls, nicely, not to pledge to write him in - but they can't bear to do as bernie wants! - # Inspired Citizen 2016-01-24 10:07 "... The Bernie or bust pledge levels the playing field by giving him leverage and the Convention insurance he'll need."

- in other words! - WE DON'T CARE HOW BERNIE WANTS TO RUN HIS CAMPAIGN! WE CAN RUN HIS CAMPAIGN FOR HIM, BETTER THAN HE CAN FOR HIMSELF! WE'LL SAVE BERNIE FROM HIMSELF!

bernie founded his own grassroots group and does not endorse any campaign to pledge to write him in, and so, throw away our progressive vote and elect a zomblican!

about hill bernie says - "Yes, we do agree on a number of issues, and by the way, on her worst day, Hillary Clinton will be an infinitely better candidate and President than the Republican candidate on his best day."

my point, there will always be an excuse for making an undemocratic threat against dems "just to make things fair" but, undemocratic threats backfire - it's an UGLY THREAT now, just to gather hill haters willing to elect a GOP prez - these are UGLY, UGLY souls - but just wait till they USE this undemocratic threat to try to steal the dem nomination! that will be OBSCENE! the horror show of 2016!

to write-in bernie is to elect GOP! who here really, truly hates the rest of us progressives bad enough to throw away our votes and elect the far worse successor to bush 2?

listen to bernie! DON'T pledge to, or write him in! - go bernie!
 
 
0 # Robbee 2016-01-25 15:48
RAP - issues its daily vote-GOP edict! - # Inspired Citizen 2016-01-24 10:07 "... (take) the Bernie or bust pledge ..."

here's what else citizen stands for - finally, citizen, at long last! thanks! outed RAP! - Republicans Against Progress! - says - # Inspired Citizen 2015-12-10 18:10 "It's going to be #BerrnieOrElse the GOP. That's RAP's promise!"

an opposing voice says - Daily Kos - The privileged idiocy of 'Just let the Republicans win’, Laurence Lewis, Sunday Dec 13, 2015 - “Whenever I hear a self-described progressive say that we ought to let the Republicans win the presidency and thus force the Democratic Party to adhere to "our principles," my first reaction is to assume that the person speaking is but another privileged idiot: White, male, young, doesn’t live paycheck to paycheck, doesn’t have to worry about whether he’ll be able to afford his medical bills or whether he’ll have a roof over his head next month …

"But privileged idiots apparently don’t remember recent history, and how well such petulance worked out in 2000, when some hoped suffering through a Bush presidency would fix the Democratic Party. And privileged idiots either don't understand or don't care to understand what real suffering is ..."

listen to bernie! DON'T pledge to, or write him, in! - go bernie!
 

THE NEW STREAMLINED RSN LOGIN PROCESS: Register once, then login and you are ready to comment. All you need is a Username and a Password of your choosing and you are free to comment whenever you like! Welcome to the Reader Supported News community.

RSNRSN