This is a fascinating article on the role of extraordinarily rich men in the political process, a role enabled by the disastrous Citizen’s United decision.
Unleashed by Citizens United, a handful of renegade billionaires made life miserable for Mitt Romney, the establishment candidate. More importantly, it only took four men — Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas and Macao casino mogul; Harold Simmons, a Dallas-based leveraged buyout specialist; Foster Friess, a conservative Christian and successful investor; and William Dore, a Louisiana energy company C.E.O. – to stun traditional party power brokers during the first four months of 2012.
The millions of dollars these men put into the super PACs associated with two clearly marginal candidates, Newt Gingrich and the former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, turned the primary process into an open contest, giving full voice to the more extreme wings dominated by the Tea Party and the evangelical right.
The newly empowered billionaires are positioned to challenge the Republican Party at its point of greatest vulnerability, during the primaries. The three major party organizations — the Republican National, Congressional and Senatorial Committees – cannot, except in unusual circumstances, intervene in primaries. Those are to be decided by voters, not the party.
Some may think that this weakening of the traditional parties is a good thing. We at Truth and Traditions have no love for the Republicrats. Nor do we have any love for narrow-minded billionaires.
Predictions are notoriously dangerous, given the multitude of possible outcomes. If the parties are eviscerated, the political system could adjust itself and regain vitality. But I doubt it. For all their flaws, strong political parties are important to a healthy political system. The displacement of the parties by super rich men determined to flex their financial muscles is another giant step away from democracy.