Stop the Billionaires: Amend the Constitution

Jonathan Alter: Citizens United, super PACs killing our democracy
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 10, 2012 11:49 AM CST
Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam Ochsorn, in a file photo. They have been big financial backers of a super PAC backing Newt Gingrich.   (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

(Newser) – To Jonathan Alter, it's already clear that the 2012 presidential election will be "one of the most corrupt in US history." It's all thanks to Citizens United, the court ruling that allows a "tiny group of billionaires"—the current crop includes Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, and Foster Friess—to sway races, he writes at Bloomberg. This is "so antithetical to our democratic traditions that it demands a national movement for a Fair Elections Amendment to the US Constitution."

That might sound like "a goo-goo idea of interest mostly to wonky reformers and Occupy Wall Street protesters," but remember that many of the amendments now on the books started without much public support, he writes. Alter doesn't advocate a particular solution (though he calls attention to one bipartisan bill that would mandate public financing of elections). Right now, it's more important to build a movement, he writes. Changing the Constitution is no frivolous thing, "but the risk of the United States moving from a democracy to a plutocracy is growing stronger every day." (Read more Citizens United stories.)

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