According to a report by the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy, and Security, public confidence of the US political process has been shaken. The controversial Citizens United ruling flooding unlimited funds into the 2012 election cycle is the main culprit. According to the report, “Nearly two-thirds of Americans said that they trust government less because big donors have more influence over election officials than average Americans.”
The Guardian reports:
US campaign finance rules, which have allowed wealthy individuals to pour millions of dollars into the 2012 presidential election, have shaken public confidence in the political process, according to a report by the Global Commission on Elections, Democracy and Security.
The commission, which is headed by former UN secretary general Kofi Annan, and comprises former world leaders and Nobel prize winners, has identified a rise in “uncontrolled, undisclosed, illegal and opaque” political finance across the world as a key threat to electoral integrity, in a new report to be launched in the UK on Friday.
The report singles out the US as an example of a country where lack of transparency and controls in political finance have left it struggling to restore the public’s confidence in its elected officials to act in their interest.”
“[The report] concluded that although Super Pacs must disclose their contributors and may not coordinate directly with candidates by law, in practice, “both constrains have been flouted.”
Fans of the Daily Show and Colbert Report are familiar with Stephen Colbert’s exploitation of the Citizens United ruling through his Super Pac, Colbert Super Pac | Making a Better Tomorrow, Tomorrow. It clearly illustrated the ease in which the rules are manipulated.
The report also criticizes Voter ID laws, which Pennsylvania state Rep. Daryl Metcalfe claims is not all about preventing fraud. It’s hard to not be skeptical over Republicans’ motives. Especially when a top state Republican lawmaker claimed that this “is going to allow” the GOP’s presidential nominee to win the state of Pennsylvania.
The report points to the “US states which have sought to introduce voter identification laws and other measures that have the effect of suppressing African-American participation in the political process.” But the disenfranchising of African-Americans is not the only consequence. Addicting Info‘s Nathaniel Downs reports this law affects Jim Cramer’s father, while Think Progress reports on how Texas’s Voter ID Laws restricts veterans from voting and how an Ohioan Veteran’s government issued ID was rejected at the polls. An editorial in the New York Times linked voter suppression to ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council).
Returning to Super Pacs:
[The report] argued that the rise of “uncontrolled political finance” was one of five major threats to democracy, which could robe it of its unique strengths to promote political equality, the empowerment of the disenfranchised and the ability to manage societal conflicts peacefully.
Indeed, Tom Head, a Texas county judge declared:
He’s going to try to hand over the sovereignty of the United States to the U.N., and what is going to happen when that happens? I’m thinking the worst. Civil unrest, civil disobedience, civil war maybe. And we’re not just talking a few riots here and demonstrations, we’re talking Lexington, Concord, take up arms and get rid of the guy.
Feeding more fire to the flames, Head continued:
Now what’s going to happen if we do that, if the public decided to do that? He’s going to send in U.N. troops. I don’t want ‘em in Lubbock County. OK. So I’m going to stand in front of their armored personnel carrier and say, ‘You’re not coming in here.’ And the sheriff, I’ve already asked him, I said, ‘You gonna back me?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll back you.’ Well, I don’t want a bunch of rookies back there. I want trained, equipped, seasoned veteran officers to back me.
The NRA Chief even went so far as to say that Obama leaving gun owners alone is a conspiracy to take away guns.
It would not be shocking to learn the report will point to the multitude of calls for assassination attempts on the fairly elected President. The report will likely conclude that the US election will produce post-election violence, as in other places where voter disenfranchisement has occurred to the detriment of the country.
Let there be no mistake about this: President Obama is not dividing our great nation. Republican’s war on drugs and poverty (producing mass incarceration of minorities), war on women, and war on science is dividing our nation. Conservative war drumming will also heighten tensions in the US in the Republican’s attempt to affect the 2012 election. Thus, indeed, the integrity of this year’s election process is held in suspect.