Citizens United Unleashed the 'Crankocrats'

Timothy Noah points out that corporations aren't the ones funding super PACs

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Apr 3, 2012 12:48 PM CDT

(Newser) – When the Citizens United decision came down, many people expected a corporate takeover of the political system. But that hasn't happened, Timothy Noah of The New Republic points out. Corporations wanted no part of campaign controversy. Instead, super PACs are fueled by "crankocrats," tycoons like Foster Friess, Harold Simmons, Sheldon Adelson, and Bob Perry, who almost all hold extreme conservative views—indeed, only one of the top 10 super PAC donors is a Democrat.

"It’s enough to make you nostalgic for an America in thrall to corporate power," Noah writes. "Corporations, after all, must answer to their stockholders. Super-rich crankocrats do not." Yet these oligarchs have managed to essentially replace all the functions of candidates' official primary campaigns, which they are routinely outspending. The only thing they can't really manage is fostering a grassroots movement. But "crankocrats likely wouldn't have patience for that anyway. It's too social, and you can't be much of a crank if you have to listen to other people." Click for Noah's entire column.

Foster Friess speaks onstage during Celebrity Fight Night XVI in Phoenix, Arizona, in this file photo.
Foster Friess speaks onstage during Celebrity Fight Night XVI in Phoenix, Arizona, in this file photo.   (Getty Images)
Sheldon Adelson speaks at a luncheon in Macau on June 8, 2011. Adelsen was honored with the G2E Global Gaming Expo Asia Visionary Award.
Sheldon Adelson speaks at a luncheon in Macau on June 8, 2011. Adelsen was honored with the G2E Global Gaming Expo Asia Visionary Award.   (Getty Images/AFP)
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