Money in politics corruption is universally reviled by the American public. It blocks progress on most issues, squanders billions of dollars from philanthropists and stymies the most skillful public interest advocates. It even drives issues like the sizzling IRS scandal, though you wouldn't know it by watching the news. But it would be foolish to believe that a culture of corruption that developed over decades can be undone overnight. It will take time, exactly the same kind of slow and painful social change that created the corruption in the first place. We have to create the conditions where politicians representing their constituents is "normal." And even if we do, all politicians will not suddenly become enlightened. It just means we'll have a better chance that the actual needs of society will more frequently be met by the actions of its government.
Elections have become auctions, and nearly every issue is paralyzed by the overwhelming influence of money. But you knew that. The real challenge is how to fix what has become one of our nation's most pressing political challenges. Despite noble efforts, the public interest community has made little headway over the past 40 years. To break that losing streak, it requires that we rethink reform strategies and go big. Really big. And it requires that we replace cynicism about prospects for success with recognition that giving up is tantamount to giving up on the future of our nation. Democracy cannot and will not survive unless reformers and philanthropists rethink reform completely. The stakes are that high.
McCutcheon presents an opportunity for the Supreme Court to reaffirm the importance of contribution limits in preventing political corruption and to recognize their role in promoting electoral competition. The Court should adhere to firmly established precedent and uphold the aggregate contribution limit.