Current estimates say that the election this year could go anywhere between $4 and $10 billion. Defenders of the SuperPACs say that this is a victory for freedom of speech, because you’re no longer bound by cumbersome federal laws when it comes to supporting candidates. Further, they claim that without these, the incumbent is given an unfair advantage because the challenger can’t muster up enough public presence.
This is pure and utter bullshit, and furthermore it’s a subversion of our process that private funds are the basis for our elections to begin with. Mitt Romney’s victory, aside from the fact that he was the least insane GOP candidate, came also because of the insane amount of funding he has. Rick Santorum’s early victories were because he plunked all of his money into those states. Making elections a race for who can outspend the other with what are almost guaranteed to be misleading ads (from both sides, mind) makes it not a battle for ideas, but a battle for who can jam their lines into everyone’s skulls the best.
You know how we fix it? Publicly funded elections on the national scale, and everyone gets the same modest amount. No candidate can tap into their wealth a la John Kerry or Mitt Romney to bombard the airwaves with their propaganda, and no candidate gets hamstrung by simply not being able to keep their coffers full. Free speech? Shut the hell up. Money isn’t speech. I don’t care what Citizens United said.