According to a new study, Citizens United is helping Republicans win state legislative elections by increasing their likelihood of victory.
The Washington Post reported on the study,
The advantage isn’t large, but it is statistically significant: The researchers found the ruling, in Citizens United v. FEC, was associated with a six percentage-point increase in the likelihood that a Republican candidate would win a state legislative race.
And in six of the most affected states — Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee — the probability that a Republican would be elected to a state legislative seat increased by 10 percentage points or more.
In five other states — Colorado, Iowa, Texas, Wisconsin and Wyoming — Republican candidates were seven percentage points more likely to win.
The findings of the study are significant because it debunks the claim of Republicans that Citizens United is not influencing the outcomes of elections. State legislative races are fertile ground for right-wing big spenders because state legislatures have a big influence on policy, and they draw the congressional district maps every ten years.
The wave of voter suppression and anti-choice legislation is coming from Republican run state legislatures that were backed by Citizens United money. The movement to destroy public sector unions is being pushed by the unlimited dark money that was legalized in the Citizens United decision.
The model for what the Koch brothers and other right-wing billionaires and organizations want to do to the federal government can be found in state legislatures all across the country. Republicans and their billionaires haven’t figured out how to make Citizens United money work in Senate and presidential elections yet, but they are working on it.
The Republican claim that the billionaire dollars are just free speech is not true. The millions of ad dollars spent by the right-wing interests in state legislative elections pay immediate dividends. The flood of negative ads gives Republicans a substantial advantage in elections where the Democratic candidate is underfunded and largely unknown.
The threat to our elections and representative democracy is real, and this study shows why repealing Citizens United should be a top priority for Americans who wants their government back.