The Free Press, Mankato, MN


April 4, 2014

Our View: Voting still trumps money in politics

Why it matters: The Supreme Court struck down limits on campaign contributions in a ruling that will allow more special interest money into elections


The donations would still have to be disclosed under campaign contribution laws, but most could be easily disguised for their ultimate destination.

The ruling comes a few years after another by the Supreme Court, — the Citizens United case — where the Supreme Court ruled corporations and unions could give unlimited money to what are described as independent political activities. That ruling prompted the creation of so called Super PACS that could then engage not all too subtly in election campaigns.

So what’s a voter or, for that matter, a non-voter to do? First, non-voters should become voters. Campaigns can track people who vote and therefore target messages at that demographic whatever it might be.

A big increase in non-voters voting throws a big curve into that system.

The best example of that was the election of Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura. An independent and dark horse, Ventura was shown to be losing in early polls. But a great number of young, first-time voters turned out unexpectedly and threw the victory to Ventura in a three-way race.

As always, voters should get informed. It’s harder than it used to be with all the unreliable news sources, blogs and unvetted Internet news providers out there.

So, it’s important to find a credible source of information — one that has been around for a long time and has sustained a viable business model with real paying customers.

Directly contacting those running for office should not be underestimated. Many consider a few calls or letters on a subject representative of how a lot of other people might feel.

If they get a lot negative feedback on an attack ad some outside group might be running supporting them, they might to disavow it.

In the end, money makes a difference in campaigns. But how much of a difference its makes is largely up to voters.

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