With the Michigan primary behind us, pundits are now looking to next week's Super Tuesday elections to see if clarity is brought to the Republican primary contest. Yet if New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, and other recent primaries are any indication, it's unlikely that voters in any state will be able to put an end to any one of these candidates' campaigns. The factors that would typically lead to a campaign's demise -- a depleted war chest, devastating gaffes, the absence of popular support, too few donors -- have become irrelevant in an era where a few billionaires and corporations can resurrect campaigns from the dead and keep zombie candidates alive through Super PACs.
A series of Supreme Court cases that undermined the ability of Americans to regulate money in politics, combined with the watershed Citizens United decision, have given candidates a corporate megaphone capable of drowning out the voices of the American people. In just six months, Mitt Romney's satellite Super PAC has raked in over $30 million from just 200 corporations and executives. In South Carolina, a multibillion-dollar benefactor delivered Newt Gingrich a win by broadcasting a multimillion onslaught against the frontrunner.
Our campaign finance system has long needed reform. But the rampant inequality in America recently highlighted by Occupy Wall Street, combined with the supersized voice of the wealthy and corporations made possible by Citizens United, has cast even more doubt on the integrity, and the meaning, of our elections. Did Mitt Romney edge Rick Santorum in Michigan this week because the voters truly embraced him, or because he and his Super PAC outspent the competition by over $2 million? Is any win truly impressive when it is determined not by the voices of the many but the dollars of the few?
Next Tuesday isn't Super Tuesday. It's Super PAC Tuesday. And I am hoping that you will join me, Senator Bernie Sanders, Public Citizen, People for the American Way, and thousands of others in using the Twitter hashtag #SuperPACTuesday to highlight the fact that it is time to return our democracy back to the people.
Our elections should be determined not by corporations with big bucks in their coffers but by ordinary Americans entering the polls with ballots in their hands. Forty-three of my colleagues have cosponsored my proposed constitutional amendment to make clear that corporations are not people and that money spent in our elections is not protected speech. I hope you will keep the momentum going and join efforts around the country to overturn Citizens United and make clear that democracy is not for sale - not today, not tomorrow, and not on #SuperPACTuesday.
Follow Rep. Ted Deutch on Twitter: www.twitter.com/RepTedDeutch