The Instigator
WesternGuy2
Con (against)
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The Contender
amey
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

On balance, the Supreme Court's decision in Citizen's United vs FEC harms the election process

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/31/2013 Category: Economics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,884 times Debate No: 29707
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (11)
Votes (1)

 

WesternGuy2

Con

Thanks for debating with me and I hope we have a great debate!
We would like to start with a proper framework for today"s debate

First, some Definitions

Election Process- Includes voting, free speech, campaigning
Harm- We would like to define undermine subvert the base or foundation of insidiously (oxford+merriam)
(ADD IF----the NY Times and commoncause.org defines the Citizens United vs (FEC) as The Supreme Court"s decision permits corporations, unions and other special interests to spend as much as they like to advocate the election or defeat of political candidates.)

Obsv 1- Time sensitivity- Harm refers to any harms now, or any harms that are imminent. My opponents have to show you, Judge, any harm of great magnitude to the election process that is current or imminent, and we have to show you how without this decision does not harm the election process, and might even help it.
Contention 1- Corporate Contributions Increase Voter Turnout
Corporate contributions create ads and messages causing an increase in the number of voters, increasing participation in democracy.

A 2010 Common Dreams article expresses that since corporations are free to spend funds on political ads, they spend an infinite amount of money on political ads.
This obviously increases the number of political ads in the united states.

Actually according to a wnyc article published in May 2012 , 70% of political ads were negative in the 2012 election.

This all might seem bad, however,

A Illinois Wesleyan University study found that increased voter turnout is due to negative television advertisements and that positive advertisements have no significant effect on turnout. By fostering an emotional response in voters, negative or attack advertisements and messages increase voter turnout.
An NYC magazine study showed that negative ad-filled campaigns throughout history have been largely successful:
In the Massachusetts senate races, Ted Kennedy volleyed Mitt Romney with negative ads, resulting in Kennedy"s victory by 17%.
George W. Bush used this same technique against John Kerry in 2004, and he won by a 6.5% margin.

The impact is clear- Voter turnout is better for the democratic processes because the people"s voices will be heard. With corporations funding campaigns and producing ads, there is an increased voter turnout, and therefore the democratic process is not harmed.

Contention 2-Corporations are beneficial to society, thus they should have the rights of citizens
Corporations have the rights of free speech protected under the first Amendment, just like a person.
Huffington Post states that Corporations are the foundation of wealth creation, innovation, jobs, markets and the economy in our society.
If they spend unlimited money to a certain candidate, the companies could save money, leading to more jobs. Corporations are run by people, help create jobs, and are consisted of people. Obviously, the corporations should be considered as a person.

A Gallup Poll showed that Fifty-seven percent of Americans consider campaign donations to be a protected form of free speech.

The impact- is that since companies consist of people and help the people, when companies get it their way, the benefits carry on to the citizens. Thus if a company funds a candidate that gives them tax breaks, the company saving money can directly impact to the workers at the company getting higher salaries. Thus when people have reliable jobs, they have more time to stay informed on election news, thus leading to a more informed populous, hereby improving the election process.

Contention 3- Super PACs are creating Competition

Super PACs, which take the money from corporations and donate them to candidates, are actually creating competition between the political candidates bettering democracy and voter turnout.

A February 2012 Slate Magazine article gave us is the Republican Primaries and how without Super PACs, Mitt Romney would win by a huge margin. But since there are Super PACs, there is a more competitive race for the fight for president, and this keeps other alternative candidates in the election too. Because of this, there are more choices in the election, and thus, with more candidates to fit these voter"s ideologies, there is more voter turnout.

Another study conducted by the CATO organization was published in 2002 which showed that without PACs, the Mccain-Feingold Act would apply and most donations would go to the incumbents instead of the challenger. With the PACs, the current law made by the Citizen"s United decision would apply and money would go to both candidates. This makes the election fair and competitive.

The impact is clear- With the more competitive environment, elections are tighter causing more voter turnout. However, if elections are not competitive, voters will not want to vote, as they already know who will win. This will lower participation in democracy resulting in harming the election process.
amey

Pro

hope fora good debate!
Debate Round No. 1
WesternGuy2

Con

Thanks for debating with me and I hope we have a great debate!
We would like to start with a proper framework for today"s debate

Again, just for reinforcments
If you need any evidence links, just ask me
First, some Definitions

Election Process- Includes voting, free speech, campaigning
Harm- We would like to define undermine subvert the base or foundation of insidiously (oxford+merriam)
(ADD IF----the NY Times and commoncause.org defines the Citizens United vs (FEC) as The Supreme Court"s decision permits corporations, unions and other special interests to spend as much as they like to advocate the election or defeat of political candidates.)

Obsv 1- Time sensitivity- Harm refers to any harms now, or any harms that are imminent. My opponents have to show you, Judge, any harm of great magnitude to the election process that is current or imminent, and we have to show you how without this decision does not harm the election process, and might even help it.
Contention 1- Corporate Contributions Increase Voter Turnout
Corporate contributions create ads and messages causing an increase in the number of voters, increasing participation in democracy.

A 2010 Common Dreams article expresses that since corporations are free to spend funds on political ads, they spend an infinite amount of money on political ads.
This obviously increases the number of political ads in the united states.

Actually according to a wnyc article published in May 2012 , 70% of political ads were negative in the 2012 election.

This all might seem bad, however,

A Illinois Wesleyan University study found that increased voter turnout is due to negative television advertisements and that positive advertisements have no significant effect on turnout. By fostering an emotional response in voters, negative or attack advertisements and messages increase voter turnout.
An NYC magazine study showed that negative ad-filled campaigns throughout history have been largely successful:
In the Massachusetts senate races, Ted Kennedy volleyed Mitt Romney with negative ads, resulting in Kennedy"s victory by 17%.
George W. Bush used this same technique against John Kerry in 2004, and he won by a 6.5% margin.

The impact is clear- Voter turnout is better for the democratic processes because the people"s voices will be heard. With corporations funding campaigns and producing ads, there is an increased voter turnout, and therefore the democratic process is not harmed.

Contention 2-Corporations are beneficial to society, thus they should have the rights of citizens
Corporations have the rights of free speech protected under the first Amendment, just like a person.
Huffington Post states that Corporations are the foundation of wealth creation, innovation, jobs, markets and the economy in our society.
If they spend unlimited money to a certain candidate, the companies could save money, leading to more jobs. Corporations are run by people, help create jobs, and are consisted of people. Obviously, the corporations should be considered as a person.

A Gallup Poll showed that Fifty-seven percent of Americans consider campaign donations to be a protected form of free speech.

The impact- is that since companies consist of people and help the people, when companies get it their way, the benefits carry on to the citizens. Thus if a company funds a candidate that gives them tax breaks, the company saving money can directly impact to the workers at the company getting higher salaries. Thus when people have reliable jobs, they have more time to stay informed on election news, thus leading to a more informed populous, hereby improving the election process.

Contention 3- Super PACs are creating Competition

Super PACs, which take the money from corporations and donate them to candidates, are actually creating competition between the political candidates bettering democracy and voter turnout.

A February 2012 Slate Magazine article gave us is the Republican Primaries and how without Super PACs, Mitt Romney would win by a huge margin. But since there are Super PACs, there is a more competitive race for the fight for president, and this keeps other alternative candidates in the election too. Because of this, there are more choices in the election, and thus, with more candidates to fit these voter"s ideologies, there is more voter turnout.

Another study conducted by the CATO organization was published in 2002 which showed that without PACs, the Mccain-Feingold Act would apply and most donations would go to the incumbents instead of the challenger. With the PACs, the current law made by the Citizen"s United decision would apply and money would go to both candidates. This makes the election fair and competitive.

The impact is clear- With the more competitive environment, elections are tighter causing more voter turnout. However, if elections are not competitive, voters will not want to vote, as they already know who will win. This will lower participation in democracy resulting in harming the election process.
amey

Pro

1.Corporate control causes undue corporate influence over the election process.
This argument is contextualized by Peter Rothberg in a piece published in The Nation:
Peter Rothberg, "The Story of 'Citizens United' vs. the FEC," The Nation, March 2, 2011.
And the results of the 2010 election bore out progressive fears as corporate-front groups flooded the electoral zone with massive contributions to reactionary Tea Party candidates. In fact, as Leonard's film makes clear, the kind of independent groups that corporations are now allowed to support spent $300 million to influence the 2010 midterm elections, more than every midterm election since 1990 combined.

This is a persuasive "pro" statistic -- it illustrates the extent to which the election financing landscape is shifting. This seems to support the notion that election politics are changing due to the ruling, which is a basic argument but also one which the pro will need to support persuasively in order to win internal links to many of their "practical concerns outweigh theoretical rights" arguments.

2.Citizens United causes political cynicism and apathy.

There are several persuasive arguments for this claim. Jeffrey Rosen outlines one in Politico:

Jeffrey Rosen, "Citizens United v. FEC decision proves justice is blind " politically," Politico, January 25, 2012.
The 5-4 majority decision in Citizens United, written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, was remarkable for its combination of judicial overconfidence and political cluelessness " the most blinkered sentence in the opinion was surely Kennedy"s sonorous prediction that the "appearance of influence or access" by corporations on the political process "will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy." Kennedy"s prediction has proved dramatically wrong. The Citizens United decision unleashed super PACs, the now ubiquitous corporate-funded groups that spent more than $300 million during the 2010 midterm elections. This massive increase in corporate spending led to a spike in political cynicism " ."

This argument is common and relatively basic: the idea that people will become increasingly cynical about the political process if they believe that their elected officials are, in essence, controlled by corporations with access to more capital than they could ever reasonably hope to acquire. This is devastating to democracy because democracy only works when people believe their opinions count and are being represented. A deluge of corporate funding creates the perception (correct or not) that politicians aren"t interested in the average voter"s opinion and that their vote may not count.

Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni, in an interesting article comparing political spending unleashed by Citizens United to the deluge of campaign spending that imperiled the Roman Republic, explain that this process is particularly insidious because it"s not necessarily about actual corporate influence; it"s about the appearance of influence. Thus, even if the con wins arguments that the statistical incidence of actual money-contribution is low or insignificant, the perception is that the electoral process has been compromised.

Rob Goodman and Jimmy Soni, "How Political Campaign Spending Brought Down the Roman Republic," Slate, November 26, 2012.
How much democratic faith do Americans have today? How many liberals think George W. Bush won in 2004 because of electronic voting shenanigans in Ohio? How many conservatives think Barack Obama won in 2008 thanks to ACORN, or in 2012 because of handouts to the 47 percent? Unlimited money in politics adds one more cause for doubt, perhaps the most powerful of all, to a list that has grown in recent years. How long until we have a presidential election in which a dangerous percentage of Americans view the final result as illegitimate on account of money? On some level, Citizens United was right. It"s not bought influence that"s deadliest to our politics"it"s the appearance of influence. We can debate dueling First Amendment readings and the real power of super PACs all we"d like; but here is a case where public opinion, on its own, should be decisive. If a loss of faith becomes wide and deep enough, the question of whether or not we are right to lose faith becomes academic. The loss is destructive either way. Just ask Rome.

Further, recent events prove that faith in democracy is at a relative low in the United States. Citizens United could possibly be the straw to break the camel"s back. The impact, as they describe in the article, is potentially widespread. As in Rome, those convinced of the illegitimacy of a candidate are unlikely to respect the authority of government, up to and including engaging in civil war. This is, of course, an extreme case, but (at least according to the authors) not one without historical precedent.

3. Citizens United allows corporations to spend peoples" money on causes with which they may not agree.

David Kairys, "Money Isn"t Speech and Corporations Aren"t People," Slate Magazine, January 22, 2010.
In Citizens United, Justice Kennedy discusses business corporations as if they were clubs or political associations with political viewpoints and elected leaders. But corporate managers don't function as representatives or employees of shareholders, who have no say, no shared political views, and no expectation that their investments will be used for political ends ". Increasing the constitutional rights of corporations beyond their business purposes is really about increasing the rights and power of corporate managers. Government has enabled corporate managers to control huge accumulations of wealth without any personal risk"an arrangement that contributes to wild, bubble-producing economic swings and collapses. Citizens United invites that arrangement directly into politics and elections.

This is another interesting argument " that the Citizens United decision:

1.Allows corporations to make political statements using investor money without their knowledge. With the decision, a liberal person could theoretically invest in a conservative company and have their cash fund ads advocating policies with which they disagree. Additionally, since there are no requirements for those expenditures to be reported, the investor may never know.

2.This empowers corporate managers to use money that isn"t their own to make their own political statements. This gives some individuals a disproportionate amount of risk-free power to influence policy (which is not so democratic, considering the average citizen needs to spend their own money to engage politically, not investors").

4. Citizens United potentially allows undue foreign influence in U.S. elections.

Along similar lines to the shareholder argument is another issue highlighted by Jason Linkins in the Huffington Post,

Jason Linkins, "The Supreme Court"s Citizens United Decision is Terrifying," Huffington Post, March 23, 2010.
A very large percentage of U.S. corporations are owned by foreign persons or entities. In 2006, USA Today reported: "Nearly one in five U.S. oil refineries is owned by foreign companies. Foreign companies also have a sizable presence in running power plants, chemical factories and water treatment facilities in the United States. " I'm not trying to stoke zero-sum xenophobia, here. The idea of foreign persons or entities seizing -- by judicial fiat -- such a dramatic advantage in terms of influence over the American people seems to me to be, as they say, less than ideal.

An important underpinning of democracy is the idea that citizens should have control over the matters that concern them in their homeland. Individuals outside a country should, theoretically, not share that control because issues that concern individuals in one country may not concern another. In point, if a company owned by a foreign entity would benefit from laws that would allow them to dump waste, damaging the local environment, they could easily lobby for those laws because they wouldn"t have to live with the aftermath. Democracy is about self-government and individuals should have a say in laws because they affect them.

Citizens United opens the door to foreign entities participating in the U.S. political process by allowing corporations free speech rights. Those with foreign investors could theoretically influence the election, which Linkins argues is destructive to democracy for the reasons above.

5. "Corporate personhood" is a bad and dangerous standard to apply to U.S. jurisprudence.

David Kairys explains,

David Kairys, "Money Isn"t Speech and Corporations Aren"t People," Slate Magazine, January 22, 2010.
The other basic theory supporting the ruling in Citizens United"the court's claim that, for some purposes, corporations are constitutionally, if not actually, people"comes out of the long history of the development of corporations. But the extension of corporate personhood to campaign speech is a controversial innovation of the conservative justices over the last few decades. Corporations needed some rights usually reserved for people to function as legal entities, so that they could, for instance, make enforceable contracts and sue or be sued. But despite the common cultural personification of corporations"we can easily say "GM was embarrassed today""they obviously don't and shouldn't have all the rights of people. For example, they don't have the right to vote.

Kairys is arguing that the personhood principle is fairly nonsensical because corporations do not and should not have the right to vote, therefore it"s illogical to allow them meaningful participation in elections. Rather, their rights should be limited to only those that are necessary for their functioning as legal entities and for consumer protection.

An article in The Nation expands upon this premise, arguing that:
The Nation, "Democracy Inc.," February 15, 2010.
By awarding to corporations the rights of citizens when it comes to electioneering, the Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission goes against the intent and understanding of founders like Chief Justice John Marshall, who referred to the corporation as an "artificial being, invisible, intangible"; and Thomas Jefferson, who warned almost two centuries ago that America must "crush in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." Dissenting Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg spoke as a strict constructionist when she declared during oral hearings on the case that "a corporation, after all, is not endowed by its creator with inalienable rights." Unfortunately, the majority dismissed Ginsburg's wise counsel and issued what Senator Russ Feingold, the Wisconsin Democrat who chairs the Constitution Subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee, correctly characterized as a "lawless" decision. President Obama was right on point when he said, "I can't think of anything more devastating to the public interest. The last thing we need to do is hand more influence to the lobbyists in Washington, or more power to the special interests to tip the outcome of elections." The High Court's rejection of the ban on direct political spending by businesses, industry associations and their surrogates, and of limits on the amount of money they may spend on campaigning, sets up a dystopia in which our elections--including this year's critical Congressional and state contests--could become little more than Super Bowl games, with corporations spending whatever it takes to sell their products, er, candidates.

This argument goes beyond indicting the mere logic of corporate personhood and explains the consequences of a broad application of this principle " namely that corporate personhood can cause class divisions and effectively disenfranchise citizens (particularly the poor) while insulating corporations from the consequences of their actions.

6. Citizens United advances a problematic vision of free speech that doesn"t adequately account for practical harm.

There are some persuasive arguments against the claim made by Citizens United advocates that the Court"s interpretation of free speech is necessary to preserve the integrity of free speech as a whole. The first, a balancing test advanced by McCain and Whitehouse, argues that there is a need to balance practicality against legal theory. Robert Barnes explains,

Robert Barnes, "Supreme Court faces pressure to reconsider Citizens United ruling," Washington Post, May 20, 2012.
Those urging the court to grant a full hearing of the Montana case take aim at the most important finding of Citizens United. That was the declaration in Justice Anthony M. Kennedy"s majority opinion that "we now conclude that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption." "That cannot be so," the new bipartisan team of Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) told the court. "Whether independent expenditures pose dangers of corruption or apparent corruption depends on the actual workings of the electoral system; it is a factual question, not a legal syllogism." The court under Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. has incrementally undermined McCain"s landmark campaign finance act by saying it doesn"t meet First Amendment requirements. McCain has in turn been dismissive of a court " without a single member who has ever run for public office " that he says is hopelessly naive about how campaign finance affects the political process.

The Senators are arguing that the court has weighed a version of free speech that is highly theoretical against the practical problem of runaway campaign finance. In theoretical terms, free speech clearly wins out because the thought of any restrictions snowballing out of control is distasteful to anyone who believes in free speech. In practical terms, however, the impact of restrictions on speech is actually so constraining on the free flow of political discourse (and so distorting to elections) that it should be prevented. The theory versus practice question is a critical issue to be explored in this debate.

7. Limits on speech are necessary and good.

David Kairys continues, arguing that practical limits on speech often make sense and don"t spill over to destroy the premise of free speech more broadly:
David Kairys, "Money Isn"t Speech and Corporations Aren"t People," Slate Magazine, January 22, 2010.
But some perspective: We limit speech"when it has nothing to do with wealthy people spending money"in many ways. (It wasn't protected at all until the mid-1930s.) You famously can't shout fire in a theater. You not-so-famously can't break the theater's rules, including rules about speaking, because you don't really have any First Amendment rights in a privately owned theater or at work. The First Amendment limits only government. And even where it is fully protected, free speech has not been absolute; it's subject to regulation when it undermines basic societal interests and functions, like voting and democracy. In the last few decades, the conservative justices dominating the court have also limited speech rights for demonstrators, students, and whistle blowers. They have restricted speech at shopping malls and transit terminals. Taken as a whole, the conservative court's First Amendment jurisprudence has enlarged the speech rights available to wealthy people and corporations and restricted the speech rights available to people of ordinary means and to dissenters.
Debate Round No. 2
WesternGuy2

Con

Their first argument is that corporate control causes undue corporate influence over the election process
They talk about spending causing an influence
I have 2 refutations for this argument
1. An increase in campaign spending means that more people are participating in democracy. The Citizens United Decision recognizes campaign contributions as a form of free speech, so what an increase in campaign donations means is that more people are making posters and flyers, and there is more of a participation in democracy. According to a study done in the Social Science Quarterly, overall, an increase in campaign spending equates to an increase in voter participation, thus strengthening our democracy.
2. This country is run by a capitalist standings. The corporations fairly and equally earned the money, and can spend it any way they want to, so the so called 'influence' over the election is legal, and not harming the election process
Their second argument is
Their second argument is the decision causes political cynicism and apathy
This is completely wrong
Candidates are just being supported due to capitalism
This is a capitalist society!
Their 3rd argument is that corporations spend people's money on causes they don't agree
This is completely wrong
Shareholders that buy the stock of a company to support the companies ideas. When a corporation sponsors the candidate, they are doing it in their interests, and their ideas, thus shareholders do benefit the corporations' interests.
Their 4th argument is that it allows foreign influence in the US elections
First of all, there is almost no link BACK to the election process for the foreign policy sub point
Second, for the lobbying subpoint, I have 4 refutations
1. Did Citizens United cause companies to be able to lobby? (no.)
2. Does the lobbying negatively impact the election process?
3. The Manhattan Institute has stressed the role that corporations play in providing information to legislators and other public officials. Members of Congress are motivated primarily by the desire to win reelection, and to advance policies that they believe are good for their district, state, or the country. Lobbyists can help them achieve both goals by providing information and expertise on specific matters pertinent to legislation and keeping them informed about how people in their districts or states feel about those matters.
4. According to Mallenbaker.net, corporation lobbying often benefits the society. Leading businesses have aimed to lobby the political process in order to help society. For example, BP's endorsed the climate change levy, Electrolux supporting producer responsibility on electrical goods, and Marks & Spencer's call for more legislation on the use of chemicals.
Their 5th argument is that Corporate Personhood is bad
However, we have 2 refutation for this
1. We agree that corporations are not people. However, the Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad ruled that corporations have the rights of the people. (emphasis on rights)
2. Our 2nd argument directly refutes this about how corporations have the rights of citizens.

Their 6th argument is that there is a problematic vision of free speech that doesn't adequately account for practical harm.
Again, our 2nd argument directly refutes this, and We agree that corporations are not people. However, the Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad ruled that corporations have the rights of the people. (emphasis on rights)

Their 7th and final main argument is that limits on speech are necessary and good
Again, a repeat of contentions
Again, our 2nd argument directly refutes this, and We agree that corporations are not people. However, the Supreme Court case Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad ruled that corporations have the rights of the people. (emphasis on rights)
Thanks and I hope you vote in favor of NEG/CON
amey

Pro

This resolution was no doubt influenced by the recent 2012 presidential election campaign which witnessed the rise of so-called super-PACs (Political Action Committees) and saw an unprecedented $6 billion spent overall, in the election process leading up the vote in November. A New York Times article, published in November 2012 summarizes the issue very nicely:

"President Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, both raised more than $1 billion apiece. And the scale of outside spending was similarly staggering: more than $1 billion, about triple the amount in 2010.

But while outside spending affected the election in innumerable ways — reshaping the Republican presidential nominating contest, clogging the airwaves with unprecedented amounts of negative advertising and shoring up embattled Republican incumbents in the House — the prizes most sought by the emerging class of megadonors, most of whom favored Republicans, remained outside their grasp. President Obama was re-elected, and the Democrats strengthened their lock on the Senate.

The biggest single donor in political history, the casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, contributed more than $60 million, but of the eight candidates he supported, none were victorious.

Flush with cash, Republican-leaning groups outspent Democratic ones by an even greater margin than in 2010. But rather than produce a major partisan imbalance, the money merely evened the playing field in many races.

Some advocates for tighter campaign financing regulations argued that who won or lost was beside the point. The danger, they argued, is that in a system reshaped by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, candidates and officeholders on both sides of the aisle are far more beholden to the wealthy individuals who can finance large-scale independent spending."

While the tactics and negative attack ads used in the recent election campaign may have proven to have little influence this time in deciding the outcome of the election, one does not need to be a political science major to understand the potential harms which may arise from the influence of unlimited private, corporate, or union contributions to the campaign effort may have on political campaigns. While the messages churned out by the super-PACs may not have produced the desired results, one can easily see how such wide-spread political advertising could have a huge influence if the media could create messages which do sway voters. But more important than the influence such ads have on the American voter, is the influence super-PAC money has on the candidates. It seems to be a simple fact that campaigns which have the most financing seems to fare better and candidates may be tempted to provide political favors to large contributors. All right, let's not be so politically correct. Candidates DO favor large donors, granting them political favors.

The potential debate around this resolution may deal with the influence America's elite have upon the political process to the exclusion of the lower socio-economic classes. Indeed, there is evidence, that private donations from lower social groups are down and many feel their contributions have little impact on the outcome of elections. The implications have already been debated by Public Forum debaters who examined the question of income disparity and its effect on democratic principles (December 2011). Certainly, the wider debate could touch on issues of threats to democratic ideals.

On the other side of this debate, is the question of constitutional rights and free speech. The notion that corporations have limited free speech rights with respect to political campaigns is flawed. Most media outlets, newspapers, broadcast companies and publishers are parts of large corporations who freely and without restriction express their opinions about candidates and issues. So why are other corporations restricted from such speech? Supreme Court Judge Alito in a November 2012 speech explains:

"The question is whether speech that goes to the very heart of government should be limited to certain preferred corporations; namely, media corporations. Surely the idea that the First Amendment protects only certain privileged voices should be disturbing to anybody who believes in free speech."

Attorney Steve Simpson of the Institute for Justice sees attempts to limit speech by corporations as an exercise of political power by those who are already in power. He explains :

"We often hear that “corporations aren’t people,” which, of course, is true. They are groups of people. More particularly, they are legal entities that are composed of and operated by people who have voluntarily associated with one another and who want to voluntarily associate with others as a legal entity. As such, corporations have the same legal rights as the people who compose them (at least those that people can exercise in cooperation with one another), no more, but no less.
The motives of those who attack corporate speech and Citizens United are twofold. First is the desire for political power. Elections are the path to political power, so those who want that power try to control who can influence the outcome of elections. One way to do that is to restrict who can speak by restricting how they finance their speech."
Debate Round No. 3
WesternGuy2

Con

WesternGuy2 forfeited this round.
amey

Pro

Perhaps the most fundamental argument the Pro can make is that Citizens United has increased
the amount of money present in national elections, and thus expanded the ability of the rich to drown
out the speech of the rest of us. While money has always been a major factor in modern elections (and
probably always will be) Citizens United allows it to play a much more direct and unregulated role.
Previously outside groups were limited in the kinds of ads they could run and the amounts of money
they could collect from specific sources. In the 2012 Presidential election most of the largest Super
PACs collected far more than 90% of their money from donors giving more than $25,000 at once.
7
The
ability of a single wealthy individual or corporation to inject millions of dollars into the political system
significantly affects the perceived legitimacy of that system and gives the perception that people's
political voices are proportional to their pocketbooks. This also decreases citizens' ability to make
meaningful choices between candidates, as the only candidates likely to have these massive fund
ds 
supporting them are those who are amenable to the rich. Candidates with policies that are aggressively
opposed to the aristocracy are almost inevitably drown out by these groups, meaning that the voters
never truly get the option to find out about - and thus choose - candidates who do not propose policies
broadly favorable to the rich.
While the role of Citizens United on national elections has received significant coverage,
perhaps more significant is the effect it can have on local elections. The smaller the race, the more
impact a large amount of money can have. Since large corporations tend to have interests spread out in
various parts of the country, it is possible for them to target specific House or Senate races in districts
in which they do business and coerce the cooperation of local Representatives by threatening to fund or

7 http://www.nytimes.com... a Super PAC that supports an opponent. Imagine a scenario in which a company wants certain
regulations on its business eased. That company can go to a Representative who sits on a relevant
committee and suggest that if the Representative does not support the company's wishes the company
will spend millions of dollars endorsing a challenger to that representative. In this scenario the
corporation does not even need to spend any money to impose its will on the government, merely the
threat of being able to so severely effect the electoral system could be enough to get its way. While
government officials bowing to the will of corporate interests is nothing new, the sheer scale on which
a corporation can now impact a local election greatly expands this risk. The more the election system
can be used as a tool to unduly influence politicians the less legitimacy it possesses.
A third argument many Pro teams may consider deals not just with the quantity of political ads
outside groups can produce, but rather with their quality. When a campaign creates an ad that is wildly
inaccurate or culturally unacceptable, the candidate can be directly challenged about that ad in
interviews and debates and forced to defend it. This creates a degree of risk for campaigns that helps to
discourage them from providing blatantly inaccurate information to the public. When a group the
candidate does not have any official control over produces such an ad, the candidate can deflect any
criticism of the ad because he or she had no role in producing or approving it. Now that Citizens
United has opened the floodgates of funding for these outside groups it has massively increased the
degree of disinformation being distributed. An effective election process is dependent on an informed
public, and the increase in disinformation being propagated following Citizens United has done
significant harm to the electoral system.
One important concept for the Pro to keep in mind throughout this debate is that the resolution
is ultimately about whether Citizens United makes things better or worse. Many of these problems
existed before, but the Pro only needs to show that Citizens United makes them worse, not that it
created them entirely. There will always be money, corruption and disinformation in politics – the
question is whether there is more or less of that post-Citizens United
Debate Round No. 4
WesternGuy2

Con

I AM SO SORRY
For forfeiting the earlier round
And opponent, if you need my evidence, just ask, I have it ready

My opponents main argument is essentially that the election is not balanced and it is unfair
However, my 3rd contention directly refutes this
Super PACs, which take the money from corporations and donate them to candidates, are actually creating competition between the political candidates bettering democracy and voter turnout.

A February 2012 Slate Magazine article gave us is the Republican Primaries and how without Super PACs, Mitt Romney would win by a huge margin. But since there are Super PACs, there is a more competitive race for the fight for president, and this keeps other alternative candidates in the election too. Because of this, there are more choices in the election, and thus, with more candidates to fit these voter’s ideologies, there is more voter turnout.

Another study conducted by the CATO organization was published in 2002 which showed that without PACs, the Mccain-Feingold Act would apply and most donations would go to the incumbents instead of the challenger. With the PACs, the current law made by the Citizen’s United decision would apply and money would go to both candidates. This makes the election fair and competitive.
Also,
An increase in campaign spending means that more people are participating in democracy. The Citizens United Decision recognizes campaign contributions as a form of free speech, so what an increase in campaign donations means is that more people are making posters and flyers, and there is more of a participation in democracy. According to a study done in the Social Science Quarterly, overall, an increase in campaign spending equates to an increase in voter participation, thus strengthening our democracy.
Another point is that one cannot say that there is a money disparity in the campaigning

1. People pay with their dollars. Campaign spending is free speech
2. if a person gets more votes, it is fair? Of course. This is the natural process of democracy. Our government allows significant disparities in the election process. Why does money harm this process?
3. Corporations support the candidate that has a better message, so it is their choice to give them money and support them. Thus, when our opponents claim that money disparity is not fair, this is the problem of capitalism, not the Citizens United Decision, since there has been unequal campaign funding since the start of our democracy.

Judge, look at this at a logical standpoint
We have to look at this at a capitalist view
The US is a capitalist society. Any money that is earned can be spent HOWEVER THEY WANT TO
Judge this is nesccesary for you to understand
So I hope you vote CON/NEG
amey

Pro

As this is the last the last i will be posting a short argument ,it is as follows:
1. Increased Block Voting - Unions have spent a noticeably greater amount of money since the ruling, and union members have voted more homogeneously. This demonstrates the advent of voting blocks rather than independent thoughtful voting. The results of this is increased political divisiveness as people increasingly vote on partisan lines as opposed to voting on the merits of the candidates" positions and ideas.

2. Increased Non-Voter Influence - Interest groups like unions and corporations do not vote. While election decisions affect them, candidates are supposed to represent the people. Since the ruling, a number of non-voter interests have enacted initiatives which can be characterized as "buying votes" for the candidate of their choice. This has negatively impacted the election process by not only decreasing its legitimacy but also removing the representation of the people.
Debate Round No. 5
11 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by amey 4 years ago
amey
somebody vote please!
Posted by WesternGuy2 4 years ago
WesternGuy2
yes, one elephant
Posted by OneElephant 4 years ago
OneElephant
I don't understand what the 'imminent' limitation on harm means. Does that mean even if Citizen's United vs FEC is undemocratic, increases political corruption and results in corporations taking priority over people, all of these harms would be discounted because they are not 'imminent' or not part of the 'election process'?
Posted by KroneckerDelta 4 years ago
KroneckerDelta
I agree with YYW, while I think it's very easy to argue Citizen's United is not only detrimental, but contrary to a functioning, healthy democracy, I do not see that there is empirical evidence to support such arguments. I only see two possible sources of evidence each of which contradicts the other:

1) The presidential election proves Citizen's United does not undermine our democracy (Republicans spent more money and lost).

2) The congressional election proves Citizen's United DOES undermine our democracy (despite losing popularly, the republicans kept their majority in the house).

I think both of those lines of argument are very difficult to actually tie to the Citizens United (more specifically to PACs and Super PACs).
Posted by kingsjester 4 years ago
kingsjester
I would accept this debate but i'm already in a very similar debate accept the resolution is worded differently.
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
Sort of. I hate the Citizen's United decision on the grounds that it enables monied interests to manipulate voters (attack ads work, and there is overwhelming empirical evidence to suggest that is the case), but to say that their doing so necessarily harms the electoral process in the US is just too bold for me.
Posted by WesternGuy2 4 years ago
WesternGuy2
So is that why you didn't take up this debate (YYW) because you disagreed with both sides?
Just asking
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
To the extent that it enables monied interests to manipulate a stupid and gullible American body politic, it's considerably harmful, but I'm not convinced that some other actor with an alternative vehicle for their message (as in something other than a super pac) couldn't achieve equally if not more harmful effects without the decision. Care for an example? The candidacy of Michelle Bachman in anything. That to say this, it is not that Citizens United 'harmed' the election process so much as it changed the rules of the game -and let's be clear... politics in America is very much a game played by people who are suspicious of those who they vote for and people who are voted for that properly deserve suspicion. Do I support the use of corporate money to fund attack ads? No... but I don't support politicians lying to themselves or the people either.
Posted by WesternGuy2 4 years ago
WesternGuy2
Sorry about that
Just shortened the resolution
It was too long :)
Posted by YYW 4 years ago
YYW
And the rest of your resolution is? lol
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
WesternGuy2ameyTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I can't decide who argued their case better. I want to vote Pro (for obvious reasons), but I can't do so honestly, because it was a very good debate on both sides. I can't even give a single point anywhere.