Undermining Our System

 

Hillary ClintonBecause of what came later – Donald Trump’s refusal to say whether he’d accept the results of the election – Hillary Clinton’s similar, if somewhat less incendiary remark about our system’s legitimacy went nearly unnoticed.

Right out of the box, responding to a query from Chris Wallace about the Supreme Court (and let me add my voice to the general hosannas for his mature and professional conduct), Hillary Clinton implied that a Supreme Court decision she disliked, Citizens United v. FEC, “undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system.”

In this, she is echoing others in the Democratic Party. Sen. Bernie Sanders, put it this way:

Six years ago, as a result of the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, by a 5-to-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court essentially said to the wealthiest people in this country:  you already own much of the American economy.  Now, we are going to give you the opportunity to purchase the U.S. Government, the White House, the U.S. Senate, the U.S. House, Governors’ seats, legislatures, and State judicial branches as well.

He, in turn, was repackaging the misrepresentations of none other than President Obama, who chose to malign the United States Supreme Court from the well of the House of Representatives during his 2010 State of the Union address. Citizens United, he thundered, “allowed big companies—including foreign corporations—to spend unlimited amounts to influence our elections.” This is what caused a startled, and doubtless appalled, Justice Samuel Alito to shake his head and mouth the words “not true.”

It’s a dangerous and irresponsible thing to undermine confidence in the nation’s institutions. So glad that Democrats have discovered that this year. Perhaps now that they are hearing it from the mouth of Donald Trump, they will repent of their own recklessness.

Citizens United v. FEC concerned the constitutionality of the McCain/Feingold First Amendment limitation (er, campaign finance) law. The decision did not change the law forbidding foreigners from donating to American elections. At issue, appropriately enough, was a harshly critical movie about Hillary Clinton. Like many politicians (including Donald Trump), Clinton’s position is that there oughta be a law restricting such criticism. That’s what McCain/Feingold did, and that’s what the Court held violated the First Amendment.

Clinton suggests that the decision prevents Americans from knowing who is funding political activity. Citizens United did nothing of the kind. It simply ratified the concept that groups of Americans, whether they come together as labor unions, advocacy groups, or corporations of various kinds, do not lose their right to speak when they join together. Under campaign finance laws, groups like Citizens United or People for the American Way were prohibited from running ads for or against candidates at any time, and McCain/Feingold extended this prohibition to prevent such groups from even mentioning a candidate in a broadcast ad within 60 days of a general election. The Supreme Court held that such political speech was the essence of the First Amendment.

Contra the Democrats, there is no secret about who is spending what on American elections. Candidates, parties, traditional PACS, and SuperPACS must all disclose their spending and their donors. When Democrats speak of “dark money” they are creating a bogeyman. Here’s what they’re referring to: When non-profits like Planned Parenthood, trade associations, or the NRA, i.e. groups that devote more than 50 percent of their activities to non-political matters, spend money on political messaging, they do not have to disclose their donors (except funds earmarked for that particular ad). As former SEC Chairman Brad Smith explains, this represents a small fraction of total campaign spending. In 2012, it was 4.3 percent. In 2016, it’s coming it at under 3 percent. We know how much they spend, because they must report it. We know what they represent, or in the case of a group like Americans For Prosperity, we can easily find out. And nothing in the Citizens United decision altered disclosure requirements.

Citizens United upheld the most cherished right protected by the Constitution. The disclosure requirements in current law are more extensive than ever before in American history. Moreover, there are some pitfalls in total disclosure, such as exposing those with unpopular viewpoints to harassment. Democrats obscure these essential girders of free speech and demonize the case to suggest that a wealthy, obscure elite has hijacked the political system.

Donald Trump again signaled his contempt for democratic norms by declining to say he’d respect the results of the election. But Democrats, including Hillary Clinton, who stoke mistrust by falsely spinning conspiracy theories of illegitimate, dark forces controlling our system are also to blame for the parlous state of social trust in America.

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  1. PJ Inactive
    PJ
    @PJ

    Mona Charen:Hillary ClintonHillary Clinton implied that a Supreme Court decision she disliked, Citizens United v. FEC, “undermined the election system in our country because of the way it permits dark, unaccountable money to come into our electoral system.”

     

    Whereas the proper way for dark, unaccountable money to come into our political system is by being funneled through a foundation.

    • #1
  2. DocJay Inactive
    DocJay
    @DocJay

    I have every intention of undermining the system if Clinton is elected.

    • #2
  3. ctlaw Coolidge
    ctlaw
    @ctlaw

    Mona Charen: Donald Trump again signaled his contempt for democratic norms by declining to say he’d respect the results of the election.

    So you would have him say: “I would accept anything Hillary wants. No matter how much voter fraud she commits, that’s fine. Even, if the election night results have me winning and then 20,000 ballots, all for Hillary, are found two days later flipping each of the three closest states, I will not question them.”

    It’s you, Mona, who is signalling contempt for democratic norms.

    • #3
  4. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    The democrats should be ashamed of their corrupt, greedy, power-abusing choice for president.  She is truly a loathsome creature.

    (this, of course, assumes they’re capable of feeling shame, which I doubt)

     

    • #4
  5. Lily Bart Inactive
    Lily Bart
    @LilyBart

    DocJay:I have every intention of undermining the system if Clinton is elected.

    Oh, we need to become a disruptive group.  Not illegally disruptive, but annoyingly  (to them) disruptive at every turn.  Ridicule their ridiculous  ideas on SJWing, healthcare, spending, laws, taxes, EVERYTHING.   And remember, any tactic your people enjoy is a good tactic (says Alinsky)

     

     

    • #5
  6. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Ever play Prisoner’s Dilemma? The Democrats have been refusing to accept the result of elections for years. Remember Bush vs. Gore? Remember the Al Franken race? (He not only refused to accept the result, he kept cheating until the result was reversed – through vote fraud.)

    In an iterative game of Prisoner’s Dilemma (and elections are) unless you eventually retaliate against the other side refusing to accept the result of an election by playing that card yourself, they are going to continue doing it.

    I am really, really tired of the pearl clutching. I am not a Trump fan, but enough.

    Seawriter

    • #6
  7. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    She’ll likely be gone at the stroke of midnight, if you catch my drift.

    • #7
  8. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    DocJay:I have every intention of undermining the system if Clinton is elected.

    Let me know how and I’ll do it as well.

    • #8
  9. Paul A. Rahe Contributor
    Paul A. Rahe
    @PaulARahe

    The “dark money” Hillary Clinton should have been forced to discuss is the money given by foreign governments to the Clinton campaign — oops, I mean the Clinton Global Initiative.

    • #9
  10. Functionary Coolidge
    Functionary
    @Functionary

    Hillary said, “And I feel strongly that the Supreme Court needs to stand on the side of the American people, not on the side of the powerful corporations and the wealthy.”

    Contrast that with the oath that Supreme Court Justices have pledged since 1789 (slightly modified in 1990):

    “I, _________, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will administer justice without respect to persons, and do equal right to the poor and to the rich, and that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties incumbent upon me as _________ under the Constitution and laws of the United States.  So help me God.”

    Undermining Our System, indeed.

    Thanks to Powerline’s Paul Mirengoff – an excellent post! Republicans Should Not Accept Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court Nominees

    • #10
  11. Tennessee Patriot Member
    Tennessee Patriot
    @TennesseePatriot

    Spot on, as usual, Mona. I think Trump’s position is amplified and causes concern because of the messenger. He whines and claims he is being cheated 24/7 about anything and everything. As 6 year-olds will do. He has some valid points but they are easily dismissed because of his history and his inability to articulate the problem.

    • #11
  12. Functionary Coolidge
    Functionary
    @Functionary

    Tennessee Patriot: He has some valid points but they are easily dismissed because of his history and his inability to articulate the problem.

    I think they stand or fall on their own merits — i.e., they are either true, or not, regardless of who makes the points, how well, or what his motives are.  We should say that his valid points should not be dismissed, even as we acknowledge that partisans will do so.

    I think it would have been foolish of him to disavow his rights to challenge a fraudulent election.  The law provides for it, and always has in America.  The candidate, in exercising these rights, is defending the rights of his voters, not only his own rights.  But, you are certainly correct that he could have articulated this much better — but what is more important? That the rights of his voters are preserved, or that he is articulate?

    • #12
  13. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    May I signal my contempt for baseless negative characterizations of Trump’s statement that supposedly violated some norm?  What norm would this be, silent acceptance of anything queen HRC desires?

    • #13
  14. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Pseudodionysius:She’ll likely be gone at the stroke of midnight, if you catch my drift.

    Does one have to wait until midnight to pour the bucket of water on her?

    • #14
  15. Trinity Waters Inactive
    Trinity Waters
    @TrinityWaters

    Tennessee Patriot:Spot on, as usual, Mona. I think Trump’s position is amplified and causes concern because of the messenger. He whines and claims he is being cheated 24/7 about anything and everything. As 6 year-olds will do. He has some valid points but they are easily dismissed because of his history and his inability to articulate the problem.

    So the issue is his inability to be articulate?  Did anyone really misunderstand what he was saying?  I’ve never heard Trump whine, but I know what whining sounds like…

    • #15
  16. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    HRC has some nerve complaining or even mentioning “dark, unaccountable money.”

    This country gets what it deserves if the citizens elect her.

     

    • #16
  17. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Jules PA: This country gets what it deserves if the citizens elect her.

    The country may, but I won’t.

    Seawriter

    • #17
  18. Jules PA Inactive
    Jules PA
    @JulesPA

    Seawriter:

    Jules PA: This country gets what it deserves if the citizens elect her.

    The country may, but I won’t.

    Seawriter

    I agree. I’m sorry. May the trumpets sound and call us home before then.

    • #18
  19. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Jules PA:

    Seawriter:

    Jules PA: This country gets what it deserves if the citizens elect her.

    The country may, but I won’t.

    Seawriter

    I agree. I’m sorry. May the trumpets sound and call us home before then.

    I’ll suffer. Too much to do to wish that yet.

    Seawriter

    • #19
  20. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Trinity Waters:May I signal my contempt for baseless negative characterizations of Trump’s statement that supposedly violated some norm? What norm would this be, silent acceptance of anything queen HRC desires?

    The norm that defeated candidates concede and, thus, reassert loyalty to our system of governance. That’s why the out-party is called the “loyal opposition.” It has nothing to do with what HRC desires.

    • #20
  21. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Mona Charen: Donald Trump again signaled his contempt for democratic norms by declining to say he’d respect the results of the election

    It’s what WFB used to refer to as “metaphysical certainty” that the Democrats have been engaged in large scale efforts to enroll ineligible individuals as illegal voters, to bring them to the polls, and to illegally suppress Republican votes. The only question is how much the fraud is going to affect the results on November 8th.

    Since when does declining to promise to respect the results of election fraud constitute “contempt for democratic norms?”

    • #21
  22. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    Trinity Waters:

    Pseudodionysius:She’ll likely be gone at the stroke of midnight, if you catch my drift.

    Does one have to wait until midnight to pour the bucket of water on her?

    Unless she brings the house down.

    Wizard Of Oz House On Witch From Movie During the wizard of oz

    • #22
  23. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Ontheleftcoast:

    Mona Charen: Donald Trump again signaled his contempt for democratic norms by declining to say he’d respect the results of the election

    Since when does declining to respect the results of election fraud constitute contempt for democratic norms?

    That seems the very definition of contempt for democratic norms.

    • #23
  24. Seawriter Contributor
    Seawriter
    @Seawriter

    Suspira:

    Ontheleftcoast:

    Mona Charen: Donald Trump again signaled his contempt for democratic norms by declining to say he’d respect the results of the election

    Since when does declining to respect the results of election fraud constitute contempt for democratic norms?

    That seems the very definition of contempt for democratic norms.

    I agree. Election fraud is the very definition of contempt for democratic norms. That is why elections won through election fraud should not be respected. Otherwise I would have to respect the results of elections in Chavez’s Venezuela, Castro’s Cuba, and Saddam Hussain’s Iraq.

    Seawriter

     

    • #24
  25. Ontheleftcoast Inactive
    Ontheleftcoast
    @Ontheleftcoast

    Suspira: The norm that defeated candidates concede and, thus, reassert loyalty to our system of governance.

    That “norm” is mainly respected by Republicans these days; it is not normative for the Democrats.Failure to clean up voter rolls is what got Al Franken elected and brought us Obamacare. Anyway, since when did submitting to electoral fraud constitute loyalty to our system of governance? Yes, Nixon did it… in a specific time and place. He did not establish an iron clad code of conduct for all Republicans at every election.

    One thing I suspect Trump’s grassroots popularity will give him is a lot of poll watchers. Whether or not he submits to “respects” a contemptible fraud will no doubt depend on what the precinct level intelligence shows.

     

    • #25
  26. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens
    @BryanGStephens

    Mona’s constant attacks on Cruz pretty much relegate anything she has to say about anyone else moot.

     

    • #26
  27. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    I’ll huff and I’ll puff and I’ll blow your House of Representatives down.

    • #27
  28. Suspira Member
    Suspira
    @Suspira

    Ontheleftcoast: Anyway, since when did submitting to electoral fraud constitute loyalty to our system of governance?

    Vote fraud definitely undermines our electoral process. That should be challenged whenever and wherever there is evidence of it. If the election is close (not looking likely) and there is such evidence, then we’re back to the Supremes.

    Otherwise, I hope Trump has enough love/respect for the country to pretend to be gracious in defeat. There will be a big enough traffic jam on the low road from his nuttier supporters.

     

    • #28
  29. Charles Mark Member
    Charles Mark
    @CharlesMark

    I think that the politicisation of the US Supreme Court has corrupted American politics enormously. Neither Trump nor Clinton even pretended that their “appointees” would be chosen for their impartiality or intellectual rigour- in fact they each made it clear that they would nominate hacks chosen specifically to drive their respective partisan agendas. To my foreign eyes this is the antithesis of good government and an erosion of  essential checks and balances.

    • #29
  30. Pseudodionysius Inactive
    Pseudodionysius
    @Pseudodionysius

    http://www.boilingfrogspost.com/2016/07/24/newsbud-breaking-news-turkeys-coup-plotters-are-members-of-natos-rapid-deployable-corps/

    • #30
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