Ted Cruz just announced his bid to run for president and he wants you to know he’s here to save America. (Americans being white, straight, conservative, upper-to-middle class.)
In his patriotic and nostalgia-inflicting ad he seems to lament the loss of traditional America, his voice is heard over a series of disconnected shots, whose common theme is not their content, but their essence: AMERICA, home of the courageous Christians, a country that needs to be reclaimed.
Not to worry, Cruz is here to save us all. His voice is heard over a green meadow, the tops of skyscrapers, a church, a kid swinging a baseball bat, the Golden Gate Bridge, a classroom of kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Like God, he is everywhere, the all-seeing, all-knowing Republican. “It’s going to take a new generation of courageous conservatives to help make America brave again, and I’m ready to stand with you to lead the fight,” he said.
But the ad would be more accurate if Cruz said, “It’s going to take a new generation of courageous billionaires….and I’m ready to stand with you.” Since, let’s be real, they’re the ones deciding elections.
Thanks to the de-regulation of campaign finance after a 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United V. Federal Elections Commission, the floodgates of campaign spending opened, allowing corporations to spend unlimited amounts of contributions in political campaigns. By pouring billions of dollars into ads, you can win elections. Surprise! The most obvious examples of this has been seen at the state level.
In 2010, after Citizens United, Art Pope, CEO of Board of Variety Wholesalers, Inc. and Koch brother replica, spent $2.2 million on state legislative races in North Carolina supporting republican candidates. For the first time in more than a century Republicans took control of both chamber. 2010 was also a census year, allowing them to also control re-districting, essentially re-drawing district lines to favor a specific party.
According to Public Citizen, that same year, out of 53 competitive House races backed by big money that exceeded Democratic contributions, Republics won 51 of them. Broadcasters weren’t left behind, they pocketed $3 billion in political ad revenues.
This is mostly done through Super PAC’s (political action committees). They are allowed to raise unlimited amounts of money for individuals, corporations and unions, but cannot coordinate individually with parties or individuals.
Usually they pour money into negative ads toward political opponents. As media scholars Robert McChesney and John Nichols elaborate, “this warps the process in a perverse way, creating a circumstance where a candidate who is not particularly appealing to voters but who is particularly appealing to a small group of 1 percenters can, with the help of well-funded friends, frame a campaign in his favor.” As was the case in North Carolina.
Taking this into account, all Ted Cruz needs is the help of a few friends. I’m talking about the Art Pope’s, Karl Rove’s and the Koch Brothers, the “courageous” white men who use their money to decide elections.
Senator Bernie Sanders, D-Virginia, who introduced an amendment to overturn Citizens United, said, “unless the campaign financing system is reformed, the U.S. Congress will become paid employees of the people who pay for their campaigns—the billionaire class.” The amendment didn’t get passed.
But Cruz, naturally, had a lot to say about that.
According to Cruz, “This amendment here today, if adopted, would repeal the free speech protections of the First Amendment. . . This amendment, if adopted, would give Congress absolute authority to regulate the political speech of every single American, with no limitations whatsoever.”
He also said it would ban the New York Times from criticizing members of Congress, and make Saturday Night Live’s political commentary illegal. “Lorne Michaels [SNL’s creator] could be put in jail under this amendment for making fun of any politician,” Cruz said. “That is extraordinary. It is breathtaking and it is dangerous.”
It’s not hard to see why Cruz is concerned with the “political speech” of Americans, especially when his presidential bid depends on it. His version of Americans being Stand for Principle PAC and Draft Ted Cruz for President PAC supporting his presidential bid.
This election will be an interesting one indeed, whether it’s Ted Cruz or Hillary Clinton, they’ll both be counting on big bucks to get them the title of president.
Maria Esquinca may be reached at [email protected]