Mickey Mouse should not influence the United States presidential election. The Walt Disney Corporation donated $5,005,823 to the Trump campaign, according to opensecrets.com, a political website tracking money’s influence on U.S. elections and public policy. Millions of dollars are legally donated by American companies in support of their preferred political candidate during every presidential election. This is America’s greatest current threat to democracy.
Citizens United fought and won for the right to allow corporations, on the basis of the First Amendment right to free speech, to donate any amount of money they wanted to a political candidate’s campaign. Other ways campaign finances are represented in large sums are through Super PACS, or Political Action Committees, allowing unions or corporations to donate/raise unlimited sums of money in an attempt to support or criticize political candidates.
Citizens United is a deliberate threat to American democracy. How is it that a multi-billion dollar company, such as Dinsey, can contribute several millions of dollars in support of a political candidate, thus giving that candidate an edge over their opponent?
Citizens United was notoriously founded to support conservative politicians. However, this does not bar liberal politicians from cashing in on corporate donations. Hillary Clinton, in her 2016 bid for the presidency, received over $21,000,000 from one corporate contribution from the Paloma Partners, according to bloomberg.com. This is the sole reason why I take issue with Citizens United. The Paloma Partners is a hedge fund primarily serving the highest quality of investors, not your grand sum of Americans.
American citizens aren’t represented by hedge fund CEOs. Americans are represented by the value of a dollar that they earn at their occupation. Americans should be able to contribute to a politician’s campaign without the interference of a major corporation.
Donations from major corporations do not represent the best interests of the common American. Corporations donate to politicians in hope of legislation and ideals benefitting the company’s profits. This is a direct realization that elections don’t represent you or me, but rather the oligarchs of this country.
Contrary to belief, a notable politician shares the same viewpoint on Citizens United as I do. Bernie Sanders, the independent Senator from Vermont, led an impressive campaign that received zero dollars from corporations. One of the many memorable quotes from the senator throughout the 2016 Presidential Campaign was, “Paid for by Bernie 2016 (not the billionaires).” Sanders gave Clinton a literal run for her money in the Democratic primaries. He was the dark horse that relied solely on donations and contributions from his supporters, turning his back on the powers that be.
Citizens United is incorrectly and over-represented through the First Amendment. Is the First Amendment supposed to protect the right of free speech of all Americans, yes? However, I believe the First Amendment should interact with Americans as individuals and not a behemoth of a company when it comes to campaign finance law.
The views the company Kellogg’s (particularly the CEO) endorses, for example, doesn’t represent Americans. Therefore, they shouldn’t be allowed to sway an election in their favor by donating a hypothetical sum of millions of dollars.
Voting is the right of every American citizen. Voting shouldn’t be a financial contest to sway the political landscape of this country for corporate benefit. There should be a campaign donation limit where no matter how many times you donate or how much you are able to donate, it shouldn’t exceed a certain amount.
Brentwood – Los Angeles, California
Journalism Major, Political Science Minor
Class of 2019