Watch Bernie Sanders Explain Why Citizens United Is To Blame For Walker’s Win


If you want to know why Scott Walker won yesterday, watch Bernie Sanders explain how Citizens United is the biggest threat to one person, one vote in our lifetime.

Here is the video from MSNBC:


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Speaking about the Wisconsin recall, Sen. Sanders said, “This is really the tip of the iceberg. What is going on now, is class warfare to an unprecedented degree is being waged against the middle class and working families of this country. and what the disastrous supreme court Citizen’s United decision did is just open the door wide open, flood gate wide open, for corporations and billion airs to take over our democracy to spend as much money as they want without disclosure on campaigns throughout America in order to elect right wing extremist who are going to protect the interest of the 1% against the 99%.”

Later Sen. Sanders explained that broader threat to our democracy brought about by the Citizens United decision, “This is unprecedented and it is the most savage attack against American democracy, and the concept of one person, one vote that we have seen in our lifetime, and what it is is saying if you are a billionaire, you can buy elections. You can by politicians, and by the way, on the floor of the Senate, on the floor of the House, you can intimidate members, because you will be saying to them if you are going to vote against Wall Street, or the insurance companies, or the military industrial complex, you just do that, and we’re going to have millions of dollars in thirty second ads in your state this weekend.”

Sanders continued, “So this whole effort to put huge unprecedented unbelievable amounts of money is the one percent saying look, we’re not content that the top one percent owns forty percent of the wealth. We want more. We want more. We want more, and we’re going to buy the political process to get what we want. So this is the worst assault on the basic democratic traditions which have made our country great that you and I have seen in our lifetimes, and what it means, we have to overturn Citizens United. We have to pass a disclose bill, disclosure legislation next month, which at the very least forces these CEOs to get on television when they do a negative ad, and say I approve this message, and it forces us to know who is contributing.”

Bernie Sanders has been one of the lone congressional voices in the wilderness on this issue, but if you want to know the biggest reason why Scott Walker was able to survive the recall, look no further than Citizens United. While some are busy trying to project Wisconsin on to the presidential race, which is folly because the presidential race is the one contest where Democrats will have adequate funds to match the Republicans, the real message that the left should be taking from this today is that Citizens United has crafted a new electoral landscape.

When some on the left take comfort in having the facts and boots on the ground on their side, they are preaching a cute, quaint, idealistic, and completely outdated model of electoral politics. If facts only accepted by one side of the political debate than the election is reduced to a political he said, she said contest. Boots on the ground are great, but if the other side can outspend you 10 to 1 and get more boots on the ground, the perceived grassroots advantage is meaningless.

The big lesson for progressives and the left coming out of Wisconsin should be that they need to unify to overturn Citizens United. The activists need to be pressuring corporate Democrats. The think tanks need to be working on policy options to work around the Supreme Court decision, and all Democrats need to understand that their best immediate chance of ridding our democracy of Citizens United is to reelect President Obama.

Four more years of a Democratic presidency increases the odds that Obama will get to appoint a replacement for one of the conservative Supreme Court justices.

The left has two choices. Either they can join together to work to overturn Citizens United, or they can stop playing their petty special interest game of threatening to withhold contributions unless they get what they want, and unify around a monetary arms race to elect Democrats.

Those are the only two options. The left can either work together towards change, or play by the new rules. Obama may be able to survive the Citizens United cash onslaught, but how many winnable congressional races might Democrats lose this year because of anonymous right wing money machine?

It is time for the left to step up, decide what role they are going to play, and if they haven’t been listening before, they best heed the warnings of Bernie Sanders about the grave threat posed to our democracy by Citizens United.

28 Replies to “Watch Bernie Sanders Explain Why Citizens United Is To Blame For Walker’s Win”

  1. We must weaken CU decision now with laws aimed at disclosure.

    We must push through a Constitutional Amendment to correct this terrible decision

    Oh and yes, Scott Walker will be indicted.

  2. YES Scott Walker won. Do you want corporate money to decide elections???

    What happens when foreign countries get into the American political process???

    How would you like it if China and India along with the Russian mob AKA Mr. Putin start buying American politicians????

    Scott Walker is just the beginning…God help us.

  3. Gosh that sounds familiar…

    Aren’t y’all the ones who still can’t accept Obama as your president? How’s that birth certificate search going?

    “fare” the well.

  4. “It is time for the left to step up, decide what role they are going to play, and if they haven’t been listening before, they best heed the warnings of Bernie Sanders about the grave threat posed to our democracy by Citizens United.”

    Agreed. It’s not enough to occupy a park. We need to occupy voting booths this November.

    CU is a direct result of the 2000 election. Imagine if Al Gore had not been denied his win–imagine a Supreme Court without Roberts and Alito and a 5-4 liberal ruling AGAINST CU if it had even come up.

    We need to re-elect President Obama this fall, because the stakes are just too damned high. The votes do matter, and “sitting this out” isn’t going to cut it—unless you’re going to cut your nose off to spite your face.


    A decision that Mao and Lenin would enjoy.

    Can’t beat Capitalism???BRIBE THE CAPITALIST TEA PARTY.

  6. Corporatism of tea party shares much with Fascism and yet they mock and crow with their misspelled screeds and call themselves patriots. Ironic or so surreal that it leaves thinking humans speechless?

    Must leave them behind. They are of no help to us or this country. We have to save ourselves.

  7. They will catch up when they see their healthcare costs are suddenly a large part of their check, along with higher state taxes

  8. I totally agree. The goal for the right is not to be part of a system but be the system itself with poverty for all.

  9. Dominionist rhetoric suggests that for a lot of us, we won’t have life either.

    Our LGBT kin/friends certainly won’t.

    That’s part of the reason why I’m so worried about Walker’s win. People don’t seem to see the picture I do, which suggests that that is a mirror of what would really happen if the election was today. I remember liberals going into that election thinking we would win (I admit I’m one), and it was a painful blow to loose as badly as we did.

    Now if, for instance, it was learned that we’d been Diebolded, it wouldn’t be so painful. What it says that even more of the population has been hoodwinked and brainwashed (yeah, I know some people don’t like the term but I think it appropriate) than we thought.

  10. In November, it will really be our lives on the line. We MUST talk to our friends; get them to vote. If they are Republican, show them this video. They may not even be aware that Citizens United allowed millionaires and billionaires to essentially buy State and Federal Legislators by throwing millions of dollars into the campaigns of the Republicans they want in power. Why? Because those Republican Legislators will enact laws which help only the rich, the 1%.

  11. We can’t let money decide elections! Remember how Meg Whitman bought the California governorship with her millions??

  12. That's right, your one example of it not working disproves the entire concept that it is working…. :-) and of course, that was Meg's own money, not corporate PAC money that is unaccountable to even the campaign.
    And that CA race was apples to all other races, except that Meg Whitman was exceptionally unlikeable, stood for nothing (her flip flops on immigrantion while being busted with an illegal maid for 9 years and then making a show about deporting her, etc) and tossed around  how much she was spending while Jerry Brown was a known and trusted person.
    She was a bad politician. Lots of people are ignorant and incompetent, but good politicians. See George W Bush.

  13. ''' It’s not enough to occupy a park. We need to occupy voting booths this November.'''
    Exactly.  DEMS MUST VOTE.    

  14. I propose we file a lawsuit against the Federal government claiming a violation of our civil rights.  Citizens United, by stating that money is the equivalent of speech, violates the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment because it automatically grants more rights to people with more money and discriminates against the middle class and poor.  
    It ironically personifies the line from Orwell's Animal Farm ."All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others."  It is ironic, of course, because that work was a criticism of Soviet style communism.  And yet here we are.
    If any of you out there are more familiar with laws and the legal system, please provide feedback on how plausible this idea is.

  15. Damn, man; apparently the "Occupy Wall-nuts" feel that blocking traffic, smashing windows and destroying small businesses is "Free Speech"; so why can't others contribute money for campaign ads?

  16. One best way to deal with all the chaff CU will throw in the air this fall:
    Simplify by sticking with the familiar, the tried-and-true. Two phrases only:
    There should be only one bumper sticker for Obama supporters:
    Drum it, over and over and over again. This streetfighter tells you it's the only remedy that will have any effect at all.
    All else, all the stamping out brush fires, is confusion–this wicked new GOP's stock in trade and chosen weapon.

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