This week's poll from the Lester & Charlie Institute of Forward Thinking!
History, it is said, is written by the victors. In North Carolina, apparently, that history will be written by Sharia-fearin', teacher-salary slashin' white people totin' guns into their favorite playgrounds and bars.
Why do we say this? Well, because there's no question who the victors are in North Carolina, at least not when it come to elections in the wake of the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling, that infamous 2010 decision handed down by the conservative Roberts Court that says, basically, not only does money talk, it's downright illegal to try to get it to shut up.
And that's led to this: in North Carolina elections, outside spending by corporations and multimillionaires increased 400 percent. Financed by all that outside (and outsized) money, the GOP took both houses of the legislature and the governor's mansion from the Democrats. Then the Republicans, according to the people who watch these things closely, "launched one of the country's broadest attacks on voting rights, decimated the state's campaign finance disclosure laws and contribution limits, heavily gerrymandered congressional districts, and politicized judicial elections."
Justice Kennedy, who wrote the Citizens United opinion with the claim that this kind of free-for-all could never "give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption," must be having a hard time concentrating these days amid all those cackles of laughter from Justices Thomas and Scalia.
And yet what's been happening in North Carolina since corporations bought the government? Tax cuts for the wealthy and for businesses, of course. Even pay raises for members of the new Republican governor's cabinet! The less well-off, however, saw cuts in unemployment benefits, pay cuts for public school teachers, and a big "no thanks" from the governor to expanded federal Medicaid funds.
It should surprise no one -- with the possible exception of Justice Kennedy -- that this is what happens when you put democracy up for sale. And with newly empowered Republicans in states like North Carolina passing anti-voter legislation faster than Rush Limbaugh can say "voter fraud!" -- it's going to be difficult to reverse the trend.
That is, if voters even want to reverse the trend. After all, if Miley Cyrus can twerk the Disney logo off her butt on global television, can anyone really claim that corporations own our country? Aren't we being a wee bit paranoid?
We'll let you decide that for yourselves. But, first, a question: Just how far would corporations have to go before voters sat up and took notice that they bought our government? What do you think?
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