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Monday, January 04, 2016

Is Trump's Popularity Backlash To Citizens United?

One of the main themes I've heard repeatedly in both conversation and reading online social media posts in support of Donald Trump for the GOP nomination is how his personal wealth acts as a welcome buffer separating him from the field of dime-a-dozen corporate-bought politicians. I'm not too sure myself his wealth alone can isolate him from undue influence, however. I also worry about the connections of politicians and government bureaucrats he ridicules or boasts about as conquests while on the campaign trail should he become president.

Given his long career of bankruptcy recoveries built on the giving and receiving ends of bought-and-sold politicians, Trump should be considered a radioactive lobbyist and unfit as a candidate for any public office, much less running as a candidate for president of the United States.

Nevertheless, there are apparently thousands of people who support Trump primarily for the reason reflected in this small sampling of tweets gathered in just a few minutes searching.

Those tweets piled up so quickly my browser couldn't load them fast enough and they seemed to go on forever.

But I do wonder how many of these same folks oppose the Citizens United Supreme Court ruling or signed petitions to amend the ruling, since they obviously detest money in politics. Because the very few Trump supporters I found in person also seemed united in their belief that corporations are people and money is speech protected by the First Amendment. So, how do they reconcile those beliefs when they shame politicians (rightfully so) as bought stooges of the plutocracy, politicians who exercise Citizens United?

None gave me a direct answer, but the best I could surmise from their mostly right-wing Libertarian-based responses was this possibility. That the Citizens United ruling has become a free market weapon so to speak, a test of free choice baited with wheelbarrows of wealthy individuals and special interest money daring candidates for public office and incumbents alike to take the tainted money. Their point I guess was that politicians should be free to make that choice and let the free market of public opinion take it from there.

So, is it possible that the Citizens United ruling is backfiring on politicians who embrace it? Remember that Scott Walker was once the early GOP favorite only to be abruptly dropped. Walker is without argument the most beholden to special interest dark money of all the candidates. Heck, he runs a political campaign racket right out of state administration offices. Or, is the "Trump isn't bought like the rest," a fake meme worked by Trump's supporters because it conveniently wipes out the entire GOP field?

I guess only time will tell, but nominating the acidic and wrongheaded Donald Trump is the worst reason, almost a self-hating punishing reason to support the worthy cause of taking the money out. Because Trump at his best is a symptom of the disease, certainly not the cure.

But if voters can successfully turn the Citizens United ruling into a kiss of death for the billionaire-groveling dark-moneyed lobbyist-owned special interest politician, it's a huge step forward that could mark the beginning of a very long journey concerned Americans must take to restore public trust in our government.

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