With the Supreme Court’s landmark Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling in 2010, cash was officially crowned king. It was widely expected that corporations and outside interest groups would dump huge sums of money into political races—disproportionately favoring Republicans. Two years later, we are seeing the consequences of this decision come into full force.
This week, President Obama and Mitt Romney released their fundraising results for May. Obama went first; proudly announcing his campaign raised $60 million, a significant jump from his April haul of $43 million. Democratic groups breathed a sigh of relief; top Obama staffers had begun to voice concern that the president’s fundraising advantage was being undercut by outside groups. The next day, though, the Obama camp discovered that it had spoke too soon. Romney’s campaign announced it raised a staggering $76 million in May.
It would be bad enough news for the president if Romney had only beaten him in personally raising funds. Adding insult to injury, though, is the fact that these official figures exclude super PACs and other outside interest groups that can now raise unlimited cash. Most donations to the Obama campaign are for under $250. It would take 40,000 donors giving that amount to raise $10 million—yet casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has pledged to donate that sum to the Romney campaign in one big check.
Under ordinary circumstances, I would not advocate for one political party. The hegemony of only two major parties paints a strictly black and white picture that I find stifling. As South Park eloquently put it, you end up with the choice between a giant douche and a turd sandwich. Given the current situation, though, it appears I have to get partisan.
President Obama has failed to live up to the hype surrounding him pre-2009. His record is mixed at best; Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Solyndra and the economy are all testaments to that. At a fundamental level, he’s failed to change the way our government operates. Yet he is just one cog in an entire system that no longer works and as the government’s most prominent figure, he gets an unfair amount of the blame. The GOP holds responsibility for the majority of the nation’s daunting problems. But by practicing pure politics and PR instead of actually governing, they’ve successfully placed the blame on the president.
If nothing is done—that is, if average people don’t wake up and see what’s happening—the 2012 election will be a landslide for the GOP. Money decides races, and the Republicans will have boatloads of it. The consequences of this could be dire. The GOP’s policies create more inequality, trample on the environment and keep minorities down. They also turn the clock back on the enlightenment by blurring the lines between church and state.
There will be no restraint on the Tea Party extremists in Congress who plan to decimate government programs by blindly swinging an ax at the budget. Romney, like all of the other Republican presidential contenders, has voiced support for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.
The LGBT community will see a huge reversal in the progress we’ve made in the past few years. Don’t imagine that this only means we won’t be able to marry. These extreme conservatives back policies at the local level—such as keeping LGBT literature out of schools and fighting anti-bullying campaigns—that have greater effects on youths. Children aren’t born homophobic; they learn it. Schools may not teach homophobia, but when they aren’t aloud to talk about it, that sends a message to teens that it is “not normal.” We all know how that messes a child up.
The evidence can be seen in Michele Bachmann’s congressional district, where such policies have been linked to a huge spike in LGBT teen suicides. The Democratic Party has its obvious flaws, but it has a far better record on LGBT issues that effect our daily lives.
Since coming out of the closet on gay marriage, Obama’s campaign has seen a surge in donations from the gay community. Of course, the numbers are nothing compared to what corporate America is backing the GOP with. Even if these elites care simply about making more money, they buy candidates who also happen to push anti-LGBT legislation. Our best option now as a community is to plug our nose and take the lesser of two evils: donate to the Obama campaign and cross your fingers that this country doesn’t slide back into the Stone Age.