Can Organized People Defeat Organized Money?

For those who still don’t think Citizens United is having a profound effect on our democracy – consider this: 78% of the $465 million in outside spending so far this election was only made possible by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.

According to a new report by the Sunlight Foundation – SuperPACs have dished out $272 million so far on this year’s election – and trade organization and non-profits, which according to Citizens United don’t have to disclose their donors, have spent another $93 million so far. The consequences of this surge in outside spending are a lot more negative ads. More than 75% of the outside spending this election has been used for negative ads – with a lot more negative ads targeting President Obama than Mitt Romney.

As a Republicans know best, negative ads suppress voter turnout, this giving Republicans a better shot at winning. We’re a month-and-a-half away from the most expensive election in this nation’s history, and the ultimate test of whether organized people can defeat organized money.


Copperwire 10 years 26 weeks ago

I think people can overcome money. I recommend going to and looking at their take on dueling loops and corporations 2.0, both worthwhile discussions.

Copperwire 10 years 26 weeks ago


Uncle Geo's picture
Uncle Geo 10 years 26 weeks ago

The money is spent to influence or depress votes because votes are the only thing they are afraid of. Until the GOP succeeds in further restricting our right to vote, the people still can take over any time they want. The question is not whether people can overome money -the question is if they ever will.

I'm not sure why lying us into a war we did not have to fight and crashing the economy wasn't enough to change minds -the candidates are way closer than they ought to be given the massive scale of Republican arrogance and the complete failure of trickle down.

klentz's picture
klentz 10 years 26 weeks ago

The things republicans do which democrats seem not to do is to assume that people are stupid and/or easily scared and/or conspiratorial and message accordingly. Unfortunately it appears to be true - at least with their own base.

All the rednecks in the south did not wake up Nov 5, 2008 and say "Oh my god - we have a black guy for president". But Karl Rove, Dick Armey, et. al.did - and realized an opportunity by making sure all the bubbas saw this as a problem. Only the naive believe that all the disgusting racist and birthist emails which flooded conservative mailing lists were initiated by right wing kooks. They are all part of an organized effort to get a win for the repubs. Nobody figured out on their own that Obamacare was bad - they were told or bribed into what to think by conservative orgs.

Clearly the republican platform only benefits a very few. Without subterfuge, republicans couldn't get more than 25% of the popular vote, since only that many stand to actually gain from republican policies.

However, they are great at doing this. Democrats could learn a lot if they were willing to play dirty too.

George Reiter's picture
George Reiter 10 years 26 weeks ago

With my years of business college studies and experience, the best form of advertising is "word of mouth" and we now have Email, Facebook, Twitter, and over the fence conversations. Will this "word of mouth" outweigh the Republicans' expense of Billions Dollars spent in TV advertising? I think that the answer is "yes".

HalFonts's picture
HalFonts 10 years 26 weeks ago

Considering what I think I know about how the way things are, It's hard to conceive that elections run 49:51 one way or t'other, (almost a random split).

Of course we have had several decades of incessant demagoggery, from the likes of Limberger and his wanna-bees. It has taken Gingrich's Politics of Division into separate realities, where folks literally live in different worlds, not even sharing common language, much less consensus. They "know" they are right; just as we "know" we are right. Meanwhile most of the country has nothing more progressive than NPR. (Why haven't Dems changed that when in power? -- Duhhh).

It's been a long well-organized and well-managed process, now coming to fruition. Two months from now, we'll likely understand much more about our future. No matter what happens this time, "The People" are gonna have to get a whole lot smarter and politically sophisticated. Thare's no excuse for being in this neck-and-neck position -- and grosely out-spent.

Yes, it's VOTES that count, not dollars -- yet we have NOT focused on delegitimizing excess-spending, or simply getting enough of our message out, efficiently. My E-mail overflows daily with solicitations panhandling ($3) spare-change. The desperation is obvious, and it's likely too little, too late -- still running last decade's campaign tactics. There is no talk of message or programs; just "Send money." That said, I do see some good organizing developing.

Just hope we get through this, and be prepared to act forcefully if there is any "October Surprise," -- anything could happen in this stinky situation.

bobcox's picture
bobcox 10 years 26 weeks ago

To be able to beat the agenda of the GOP one must shift the emphasis from the Presidency to the congressional races. Because the misguided Tea-Party essentially took over Congress in the 1010 election, they were able to shut down Congress and nullify essential legislation. If Obama could take Congress like FDR did in 1932 and 1936, Obama might be able to get the proper things through but--problems in many representative districts will cause, not the defeat of Obama but the defeat of Obama's programs.

Uncle Geo's picture
Uncle Geo 10 years 26 weeks ago

Bob is dead on and everyone reading this should ask "How many hours have I phone banked or doorknocked for a congressional candidate?" (or any candidate).

If the number is zero then you've just identified one of Bob's "problems in representative districts". It's an uphill battle for us to win these elections because, like every other volunteer organization, only a few people do the work. How few? My US house district, which has 80% or better voter turnout, has a million people in it but only 300 active volunteers -maybe we get to a thousand a month or so from an election. That's freakin' pitiful -where the hell is everybody who says they care?

This is why, after the massive failure of trickle down and a war we were lied into, voters are essentially as evenly divided as they were before Bush. With the news media abbrogating it's responsibility, Citizens United and now voter supression the GOP can manipulate a tie into a win -and continue doing so. Our only chance is to contact voters directly and that means anyone with a brain doing the contacting.

If you are not volunteering, get off your lazy butt and put your mouth where your mouth is.

megalomaniac's picture
megalomaniac 10 years 26 weeks ago

Ironically it is not the money, true, the Supreme Court is loaded for Corporate America. That ideal, money is free speech is giving those who know “BDO” that commercial that sounds like an accounting firm “Arthur Anderson II” can spend billions under the cloud in the mist of looping holes loaded in currency swirls in their soft money bags of richness corrupting all the way to the great OZ. All the while securing the attractive charade dissembling intentionally breaching the Constitution. Chuck the first amendment of free speech, which is actually talking and sending sound wave through our poisoned atmosphere . Or now it is the paper flux that migrate through Brinks bags. LOL. As Rocky and Bullwinkle said “the spirits are about to speak are they friendly spirits”?

Ladies and Gentlemen of America those who can vote for a man who has his savings intentionally invested in private secrecy is in basic violation of a free market. You who, did you get that? If you seem confused think about it again. Here is this guy, Mitt Romney saying he knows the free market.

Which usually or should have an extordinary amount of transparency. Romney has an obnoxious retirement fund in secret Canary Islands and a secret Swiss bank account. Sheesh, if this isn’t a WTF moment what the hell is? What makes me wonder are all those who rally and shout yes yes yes!!! For Romney! If you vote for Romney will he give an application for a Canary Island tax haven bank account? Well ladies and Gentlemen of America if Romney get in as president fax me copy of that form so I could fill one and get my tax loopholes going. Because I sure need the money.

BARBARA NECKER 10 years 26 weeks ago

I certainly hope so. If R&R are elected the America we thought we knew will be gone.

BARBARA NECKER 10 years 26 weeks ago

I think I have to correct my previous post. I meant to say I hope people power proves stronger than corporate power. We must wrest our country back frm the blankedy-blank corporate suits.

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