The first thing voters need to know about Initiative 735 is that it is technically advisory in nature, meaning that it doesn’t actually change anything. A “yes” vote would simply urge Washington’s congressional delegation to propose a constitutional amendment that would reserve constitutional rights for people, but not corporations.
In other words, I-735 is an attempt to make a statement against the Citizens United decision of 2010 that removed restrictions on the amount of money that could be spent on election advertising by corporations, labor unions, non-profits and others.
In effect, the Citizens United decision opened up the electoral process to a greater number of challengers. Some complain that this has resulted in more corporate money in the electoral process, however that’s not necessarily a bad thing for a few reasons.
First, the increase in the amount of corporate money in our elections hasn’t been nearly as extreme as many on the political left make it out to be. The amount of anonymous election spending (through PACs) has increased from about $10 million to $300 million, which sounds huge at first. However, that’s about the cost of a single summer blockbuster, as an article on Reason.com points out.
The article goes on to say,
“Frankly, if elections are supposed to be so important, shouldn’t they be of greater financial impact that a chapter of Pirates of the Caribbean?”
The truth is, we don’t spend that much on elections considering the outsized impact they have on our everyday lives.
Money isn’t everything
Another thing to note is that the amount of money spent in an election isn’t all that matters. In fact, an unprecedented amount of money was spent on behalf Jeb Bush’s race during the republican primary, yet it got him nowhere. His campaign failed to gain traction in virtually any state, and he was forced to drop out. Comparatively, an incredibly small amount of PAC money was spent on Donald Trump’s campaign, yet he ended up being the nominee.
This just goes to illustrate that the energy and excitement behind a candidate is vastly more important than sheer dollar amounts.
Needed to compete with Union Spending
Finally, one of the most important aspects of the Citizens United decision was the impact that it has had on leveling the political playing field. Prior to the ruling, Unions could spend unlimited amounts of money on behalf of candidates, often claiming to speak on behalf of all employees. Citizens United gave corporations and other advocacy groups the right to counter that influence with their own form of political speech.
The answer is clear: Voters should reject Initiative 735 on election day.