January 6 Shows Why Corporate Political Spending Is Bad for Democracy

For a brief moment, corporate America appeared to be stopping subsidizing efforts against democracy. On January 6, former President Donald Trump and several high ranking Republicans led an insurrectionist group that stormed into the Capitol. eight senators and 139 representatives refused to certify President Joe Biden’s victory. In response, companies made lofty promisesNever again support politicians who attempt to overthrow U.S. democratic institutions. Most of the companies that made these promises are not here back to enabling politiciansWho still Unapologetically, support the attempted coup (Mostly “indirectly” via loopholes(In our campaign finance system.

We are sending the wrong message if this is interpreted as a failure by corporations to fulfill their civic responsibility. Corporations have no structural interest in a functioning democracy; they’re interested in a government that responds primarily to their needs, and their need is to amass as much wealth as possible.

Corporations are nothing but a legal vehicle to encourage investments. Investors in corporations receive liability protection — if the corporation goes belly-up, they lose their investment, but they are not liable for the corporation’s debts — and in return they give up control over the day-to-day management of their investment. Corporations are a great way to encourage investment.

However, the dangers of wealth-accumulation machines engaging in politics were so obvious that they were prohibited from doing so between 1907 and 2010. That year, the Supreme Court abandoned any common-sense understanding of corporations’ proper role in our democracy. In its notorious Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission This court decision allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts from their own treasuries in order to influence elections.

But What do corporations “say” with political spending? Unsurprisingly, corporations advocate for policies that allow them to amass more wealth, adding to the already lopsided “wealth primary” in this country. This ensures that — with few exceptions — only elected officials who have accepted money from corporate interests can run viable campaigns. This makes the government more responsive than the public to corporate interests.

Considering this, how can anyone expect corporations not to support democracy? So long as the political system is not so chaotic that it affects their bottom line — and there is evidence that the next coup will be in courts, not in the streets — corporations have no interest in a legal system that is responsive to the general public. At best, they might be agnostic to an authoritarian regime. At worst, they might embrace it. a more robust protector of their property than democracy.

To save our democracy, we can’t rely on corporations — we need to understand that they are standing in the way. They are not evil, but they are doing exactly what they were created to do: to accumulate as much wealth as they can. Corporate political spending isn’t part of the solution; it’s part of the problem.

We must respond by limiting corporate influence in the political process. This means that we must support innovative legislation that follows current Supreme Court precedents. banning political spending by corporations under substantial foreign ownershipLimiting contributions to super PACs. Long-term, we must reform the Supreme CourtAnd amend the Constitution to reverse the disastrous Citizens United decision.

In the aftermath of the Supreme Court Justice Byron White’s resignation, forty-three years ago. first Supreme Court caseAllow corporations to use their treasury funds in order to influence the political process. This is a case that was foreshadowed Citizens United. He warned that the decision threatened to allow corporate interests, who “control vast amounts of economic power” to “dominate not only the economy, but also the very heart of our democracy, the electoral process.” The First Amendment, he argued, did not force the public to allow “its own creation to consume it.”

The January 6th insurrection and the craven corporate responses remind us that we must reclaim our promise of true democracy in our country, responsive to not corporate slush funds, but to the people of U.S.