The Instigator
KodyHarris
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
DeFool
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points

RESOLVED: The Citizens United ruling undermines democracy in the United States.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 9/23/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 4,632 times Debate No: 25770
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (17)
Votes (1)

 

KodyHarris

Con

I'll let my opponent begin since I am negative.
DeFool

Pro

Many thanks to my debate partner for proposing this discussion. I am rarely afforded an opportunity to defend my views on the subject against a heartfelt opposing argument, and so I am looking forward to better understanding the “other side” in this matter. It is rare that any voice is given to the view that money does not influence our political system, or that the Citizens United Decision (CUD, to save space) has not worsened this situation.

It will be my task in this discussion to demonstrate at least one way by which the CUD undermines our nation’s democratic traditions. There are many. I trust that our audience is already aware of several of these; therefore, I will dedicate this round to one that I feel is overlooked, and which involves a sinister catch-22 for democracy. I will elaborate in a moment, but briefly, the CUD must – necessarily – either force Americans to share our political system with other nations, or must significantly reconsider the right to free speech, making this right contingent on the identity of the speaker.

I am not making a polemicist argument here – I will show how the CUD must provide for at least one of these conditions to exist, and neither is democratic.

Here's how it works.

Citizens United has allowed corporations to make direct expenditures that are intended to openly influence federal elections. This allows 501(c)(4) nonprofits to fund electioneering communications and fund political careers while keeping the source of that money secret from the public. In other words, the laws that currently prevent foreign governments from influencing American elections can no longer prevent such interference. After Citizens United, nothing can prevent a shell corporation set up by a foreign government from using fake “customers” who produce on-paper “profits” to influence our elections. Nothing that prevents this exists anywhere in United States law, and those laws that can help reduce this problem may now be unconstitutional - thanks to Citizens United.

Worldwide commerce is becoming increasingly integrated thanks to globalization. A firm can be headquartered in one country, yet conduct most of its business on the other side of the world. Foreign-owned corporations already lobby the US government, and many of these operate as agents of their nations of origin. The Citizens United decision allows the formation of “Super PACS” which cannot be required to disclose where the money they spend on our influencing our elections comes from.

This argument normally inspires eye-rolling from defenders, who point to laws that they say will prevent such mischief. One such law is actually an FEC regulation (the FEC was defeated by the Citizens United Decision.) - [11 CFR 110.20(i)]. This law states that, “A foreign national shall not direct, dictate, control, or directly or indirectly participate in the decision making process of any person, such as a corporation, labor organization, political committee, or political organization with regard to such person’s Federal or non-Federal election-related activities, such as decisions concerning the making of contributions, donations, expenditures, or disbursements in connection with elections for any Federal, State, or local office or decisions concerning the administration of a political committee.” [1]

Furthermore, the SCOTUS (this is how I shall abbreviate “Supreme Court”, to save space) has recently upheld such restrictions. [2] I point these laws out to prove that elected officials are aware that political donations such as these influence their decisions. Otherwise, why prevent out-state actors?

However, it remains unclear if similar restrictions can possibly be upheld – the SCOTUS will need to determine if “customers’” money can be somehow segregated from the profits of those corporations that seek to influence our political system, and prohibited from use, based on the nationality of those customers. It does not seem to be possible, from my perspective. Let us suppose two scenarios, one where such money can be identified and removed from our political process, and one where no attempt is made to do so.

So here is the catch-22, which forces the CUD to become antidemocratic no matter how it is applied.

If corporate funding of political campaigns is “free speech” then it is wrong to remove this ability from those corporations that are American, but whose profits come from outside the US. If we allow these corporations to exercise their “freedom of speech,” then they may write the American voters out of the American political system. In other words, there is no way that the CUD will not harm democratic ideals – in this instance.

The CAD argues that corporations should not be prevented from exercising their “free speech rights” simply because they are corporations. However, if foreign corporations, or corporations with large amounts of foreign shareholders, such as Ford Motors, are prevented from such participation, then the First Amendment can no longer be said to allow free speech as an “inalienable right.” Free speech rights will then vary depending on the identity and nation of origin of the speaker. If the speaker is an American corporation that ever was “foreign,” then this fully American entity will no longer be afforded the same rights as other American entities – such as corporations that never were foreign-owned. If a corporation is exercising its “free speech rights” thanks to profits made from foreign customers, then that corporation could be in danger of having its First Amendment rights partially stripped.

Justification:

Shell corporations can be set up by foreign governments who want to influence the decisions that our nation makes. These corporations can have as their sole shareholder and sole “customer” the government of Iran, North Korea, China, Pakistan, or any other nation. These corporations can be owned and operated entirely by Americans – circumventing any law related to foreign entities

There is evidence [2] that the SCOTUS is aware of this threat, and has begun taking steps to partially reverse the CUD. The very fact that SCOTUS is taking these measures proves absolutely that these men understand that money does, in fact, influence our democracy.

However, by removing these abilities from outside nations, SCOTUS must also necessarily remove what they have sanctified as “free speech rights” from American entities such as corporations – based on the identity of that entity.

Won't foreign nations still influence our government - through traditional lobbying?
The answer is yes, however the Citizens United Decision allows them to use unlimited amounts of money - collected from their nations' taxpayers, and then secretly use that money to influence our elections in the United States. Citizens United also prevents anyone from ever learning who is funding our nations politicians - which makes the problem much worse.


Should foreign entities have free speech or not?
The SCOTUS has ruled that not all speech is constitutionally protected free speech. Espionage, lying to police, threats, and "shouting fire in a crowded theater" are not considered to be protected by the First Amendment. Added to these are anti-bribery laws which limit the gifts that can be given to elected officials. I believe that foreign agents should be allowed the freedom to speak, but not to become professional gift-givers, whose gifts are intended to influence the decisions being made by the American government. This is not a xenophobic argument against foreign agents - but an argument against legalized bribery.



[1] http://www.gpo.gov...

[2] http://www.fec.gov...

[3] The Harvard Law Reviews Association. “‘Foreign’
Campaign Contributions and the First Amendment. Harvard Law Review, 110.8
(1986): 1886-1903

Debate Round No. 1
KodyHarris

Con

I would like to begin by emphasizing my gratitude for my opponent"s surprisingly cogent and unique response. Seeing such an unorthodox approach to the landmark case is amazingly refreshing and will indubitably provide for some fantastic angles of argumentation further in the round.

Firstly, I cannot help but immediately point out a gaping hole in this critique of the decision, especially in reference to the resolution. The affirmative argument is largely contingent on a vague underlying ethical system that is never fully exemplified. The affirmative seems to juxtapose each notion of supremacy with some "obvious" harm that apparently undermines democracy without truly specifying how, thereby performing this grotesquely fallacious rhetorical association, in that anything that seems to contradict the idea of fairness or goodness is also contradicting the concept of democracy.

Secondly, the critique is especially focused on potential consequences of the decision itself. Keep in mind that nearly any piece of legislation could, in a sense, have a potential harm that undermines democracy. The argument that the consequences of freedom of speech, alone, could undermine democracy can be made. Now, there is legislation to, for the most part, prevent this. If there were not legislation preventing some consequential elements of the freedom of speech, the argument that freedom of speech itself undermines democracy still could not be made. What we are discussing here is a factual proposition " whether or not the CUD, through its nature, is undermining democracy; whether or not the specific aspects of the decision themselves are undermining democracy. It would be absurd to assume that there are no potential negative consequences of this decision. The affirmative and negative must agree upon this. These potential consequences can be remedied through the use of legislation closing loopholes and discouraging corrupt behavior, but this is an entirely different issue. An argument about the potential harms of a decision is a major topicality error on the affirmative part and I ask for clarification.

According to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, democracy is generally defined as equal participation in collective decision-making. This is currently upheld, and will continue to be upheld as the explicit electoral process remains unchanged by legislation. Each individual is entitled to one vote " no more, no less. As long as this concept is in place, democracy simply cannot be undermined. The individual makes the choice; nothing else does.

Given this principle, it should be pointed out that literally every aspect of the Citizens United decision is dealing with influence. There are zero aspects of the ruling that can have any direct impact on the results of the elections. It is literally a game of rhetoric and persuasion through television, radio and Internet. The effectiveness of these advertisements, as indicated by evidence, is only effective if an insubordinate amount of money is dedicated to the campaign and if it is largely above the spending of others [1]. It is also regarded by many as negligible [2] [3] [4].

A primary issue in the repugnance of the CUD is the inadvertent advocacy of censorship. By abridging the freedom of speech of any party, one is actually undermining democracy and directly antagonizing the freedom of speech. This is precisely what the affirmative is arguing " that corporate speech ought to be censored.

In the United States, political equality is highly valued. Each eligible voter can only vote once, and this individual vote is the fundamental method by which sovereignty is indirectly delegated and established. On the other hand, economic equality is not significantly valued. This is clear by the capitalistic nature of the US economy, public opinion and legislation. Given naturally occurring discrepancies in economic equality, particularly equality of results, some individuals have a "louder" voice than others " variations in external efficacy. For example, if I want to get a message heard, and Mark Zuckerberg wants to get a message heard, who will have an easier time? Zuckerberg and I do share the exact same rights. However, he is in escalated position of power through his monetary influence. Nothing about this concept undermines democracy. To "adjust" or censor Zuckerberg"s speech is terribly Vonnegutian and dystopic. This is what the affirmative desires. He is only concerned about potential harms resulting from what happens if we allow corporate free speech. Political speech is protected under the first amendment, and the CUD upholds exactly that [5].

[1]http://journals.cambridge.org...

[2]http://www.theatlanticwire.com...

[3] http://articles.herald-mail.com...

[4] http://www.policymic.com...

[5] http://www.ij.org...
DeFool

Pro

I thank my partner for the last submission.


I have presented one example of how the Citizens United decision will harm our democratic traditions, and this example has not been rebutted. To recap: If the freedom of speech should be extended to groups such as corporations and foreign governments, then it is wrong to limit this freedom on the grounds that the speaker might have once not have been native to this country. This means that either our freedom of speech is not ‘inalienable,’ or the governments of other nations should have the right to drown out the will of the American voter with massive amounts of corporate money.


The affirmative seems to juxtapose each notion of supremacy with some "obvious" harm that apparently undermines democracy without truly specifying how, thereby performing this grotesquely fallacious rhetorical association, in that anything that seems to contradict the idea of fairness or goodness is also contradicting the concept of democracy.


I make no such assertion. I do regard the idea of “fairness” before the law as a democratic ideal, but this high opinion of mine is neither here nor there. I never make this argument. What I argue is that the CUD must limit our free speech rights, or our democratic authority.


What we are discussing here is "whether or not the CUD, through its nature, is undermining democracy; whether or not the specific aspects of the decision themselves are undermining democracy." An argument about the potential harms of a decision is a major topicality error on the affirmative part and I ask for clarification.


This argument makes two claims, neither of which defends the CUD against my argument, as presented in the first round. It is an attempt to avoid my propositions altogether, by dismissing them as irrelevant. Let’s look at this statement more closely.


This argument has two propositions:


1. We are discussing, in the words of my partner, “whether or not the CUD, through its nature, is undermining democracy; whether or not the specific aspects of the decision themselves are undermining democracy.”


And


2. My argument about the potential harms of a decision is a major topicality error on the affirmative part.”


However, it is obvious that both propositions cannot exist at the same time, thus invalidating the entire argument. Harm to democracy (proposition 1) does in fact constitute the “potential harm” caused by the decision (proposition 2), and therefore does not represent a topical error.


Any legislation or court decision could have potential negative consequences. The CUD, if imperfect, can be corrected through additional legislative remedies, and so does not harm our democratic institutions.


I am arguing that the Citizens United decision does harm the democratic authority of the American people, and this argument has not been rebutted. Additionally, I am arguing that because of this, additional legislation is required in order to remedy this court decision. However, because it is a decision handed down by the Supreme Court, no legislative remedies are possible – anything that might second guess the CUD is, by definition, unconstitutional. The only possible legislation that could impact the case would require the extreme case of Constitutional amendment. The most likely alteration to the CUD would come from future SCOTUS decisions, which are likely to overturn or amend the decision. One such amendment would involve restricting the “freedom of speech” of corporations to exclude this right from those which are not native to America. Such a decision would, I argue, make the freedom of speech no longer inalienable.


The Citizens United Decision strengthens free speech. Opposition to the CUD is support of censorship.


Paid advertising is not “free.” It is a marketable commodity. Arguing that the purchase of such advertising is an inalienable right also necessarily argues that such rights can be restricted to those wealthy enough to afford it. Clearly, this would represent a major degradation in the democratic power of the American people, and therefore, should be considered an example of why the CUD should be modified or eliminated – and this was actually presented by my partner.


Consider. The argument states that;


1. The ability to give large sums of money to politicians in an effort to influence their policy-making is an example of freedom of speech


2. Attempts to restrict giving large sums of money to politicians in an effort to influence their policy-making is an example of censorship


3. Therefore, the freedom of speech varies greatly from person to person, based factors such as wealth, status and class. Those with more disposable wealth have more access to our democracy than those with less.


This logic renders our first right, the right to speak, subject to station, class, wealth, and position. Obviously, this cannot be considered democratic. Yet this is what CUD necessarily does, as a necessary condition of its existence.


Other Arguments


I will address my other propositions presented by my partner in time. For now, I feel it necessary to introduce other methods by which Citizens United undermines democracy.


The perception of corruption is corruption


Democracy cannot exist without widespread citizen involvement.


The appearance of corruption, due to uncontrolled and secret funding of elections serves to alienate the public, increase cynicism, apathy and voter fatalism, thus reducing citizen involvement. As there is no credible way to claim that Citizens United has decreased this appearance, there is little means by which to argue that it does not undermine democracy by reducing voter participation.


Money buys elections


In over 80% of all federal elections, the party with the most campaign money wins the election. This fact makes it possible to accurately predict the winner of any federal election with a better than 80% accuracy level – just by knowing which candidate has more money, and knowing nothing else about that candidate or election. Local issues, party affiliation, positions of important issues, political skill level, and all other factors are, therefore, less important than money in determining the winner of federal elections. [1] Citizens United, by increasing the amount of money in elections, will allow those with more money to influence more elections. Those with less money, will necessarily become less important to our governmental decision makers who run for elected office, or answer to those who must run for elected office. This form of government closely resembles plutocracy, or “rule by the rich.”


The incumbent nearly always wins


Incumbents almost always win because money follows power. Those in office and can who can decide policy are the preferred targets of those seeking to influence their decisions. If these politicians want to be re-elected, they will enjoy an 80% likelihood of being returned to office if they use their station to attract more funding than their competitors. [2]


Citizens United has increased the amount of money that is influencing our politicians


In 2010, following the CUD, outside groups spent an staggering $294 million on political advertising. 46% of this money, accounting for $135 million, was spent by groups that did not provide any information about their sources of money. [3] If we cannot know who is buying our politicians, we cannot vote on the basis of that information. This reduces democratic oversight.



[1] http://www.politifact.com...


[2] http://www.opensecrets.org...


[3]http://www.brennancenter.org...

Debate Round No. 2
KodyHarris

Con

I thank my opponent for his response.

I'd like to begin by addressing some of the primary issues floating around in the arguments. In regard to my opponent's elusive condemnation of the CUD without specifying which aspect of democracy is being undermined:

I make no such assertion. I do regard the idea of “fairness” before the law as a democratic ideal, but this high opinion of mine is neither here nor there. I never make this argument. What I argue is that the CUD must limit our free speech rights, or our democratic authority.

To clarify, the argument being made in my previous post was that my opponent was loosely condemning the CUD without truly specifying which aspect of democracy was being undermined. He instead clarified his primary argument, which is the catch-22.

If the freedom of speech should be extended to groups such as corporations and foreign governments, then it is wrong to limit this freedom on the grounds that the speaker might have once not have been native to this country. This means that either our freedom of speech is not ‘inalienable,’ or the governments of other nations should have the right to drown out the will of the American voter with massive amounts of corporate money.

My opponent makes a very faulty assertion, which is that foreign governments can somehow drown out the will of the American voter. Like I stated in my previous argument, the campaigning process in which Super PACs primarily operate is entirely external to the electoral process itself. With the globalization of the world, rhetoric and persuasion are everywhere, and to assume these foreign governments can effectively drown out the will of the American voter is absurd. This is mere rhetoric and persuasion. It is still solely up to the American voter to decide who to vote for. Corporations cannot vote and neither can foreign nations. To assume funding implies victory is absurd.

However, it is obvious that both propositions cannot exist at the same time, thus invalidating the entire argument. Harm to democracy (proposition 1) does in fact constitute the “potential harm” caused by the decision (proposition 2), and therefore does not represent a topical error.

Potential harm does not constitute harm.

I am arguing that the Citizens United decision does harm the democratic authority of the American people, and this argument has not been rebutted. Additionally, I am arguing that because of this, additional legislation is required in order to remedy this court decision. However, because it is a decision handed down by the Supreme Court, no legislative remedies are possible – anything that might second guess the CUD is, by definition, unconstitutional. The only possible legislation that could impact the case would require the extreme case of Constitutional amendment. The most likely alteration to the CUD would come from future SCOTUS decisions, which are likely to overturn or amend the decision. One such amendment would involve restricting the “freedom of speech” of corporations to exclude this right from those which are not native to America. Such a decision would, I argue, make the freedom of speech no longer inalienable.

I'll merely restate my previous argument to re-emphasize the point I was making. The potential consequences of a decision cannot be actively attributed to it. The active verb "undermining" is indicating that this harm is already occuring. Unless my opponent can present evidence that this is happening, his argument is entirely baseless.

Catch-22

The catch-22 presented is in no way correlated with orcausal tothe undermining of democracy. The latter implication of theapparent catch-22, which was the limitation of the United State's democratic authority, is simply not a valid argument. Once again, I'll reemphasize: campaign funding only attempts to persuade voters. There is absolutely nothing wrong with persuasion and rhetoric, even if money is involved.

This logic renders our first right, the right to speak, subject to station, class, wealth, and position. Obviously, this cannot be considered democratic. Yet this is what CUD necessarily does, as a necessary condition of its existence.

I'll repost a quote from my original argument because it is highly applicable here:

"Keep in mind the right to speak is not the right to be heard. In the United States, political equality is highly valued. Each eligible voter can only vote once, and this individual vote is the fundamental method by which sovereignty is indirectly delegated and established. On the other hand, economic equality is not significantly valued. This is clear by the capitalistic nature of the US economy, public opinion and legislation. Given naturally occurring discrepancies in economic equality, particularly equality of results, some individuals have a "louder" voice than others " variations in external efficacy. For example, if I want to get a message heard, and Mark Zuckerberg wants to get a message heard, who will have an easier time? Zuckerberg and I do share the exact same rights. However, he is in escalated position of power through his monetary influence. Nothing about this concept undermines democracy. To "adjust" or censor Zuckerberg"s speech is terribly Vonnegutian and dystopic. This is what the affirmative desires. He is only concerned about potential harms resulting from what happens if we allow corporate free speech. Political speech is protected under the first amendment, and the CUD upholds exactly that."

The perception of corruption is corruption

Not only did my opponent fail to provide citations for a reduction in voter turnout, but the argument is also incorrect. A reduction in voter turnout does not undermine democracy. Voting is only one way of participating in politics. It is important but not fundamental. Joining civic associations, supporting social movements, writing to legislators, fighting city hall - all these and other activities are ways of participating in politics. If anything, the presence of corruption motivates the public to overturn this state of alienation. However, this is now irrelevant.

Money buys elections

My opponent makes the argument that money buys elections byproviding the statistic that 80% of candidates with themost money win the elections. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this. More money could also imply more populous political support. Just because more money is contributed to the election does not mean the will of the many is being undermined. It could just mean that there are literally more supporters of this candidate.

The incumbent nearly always wins

Once again, nothing wrong with an escalated position of power resulting in an escalated volume of speech.

Citizens United has increased the amount of money that is influencing our politicians

I ask my opponent to clarify how this undermines democracy.

I look forward to my opponent's response.
DeFool

Pro

Thank you to my partner, for the concise presentation. I shall answer the rebuttals, but first I must put forward several additional negative effects that the CUD has had on our democratic institutions.

He asks that I be very specific indeed when I say that this decision undermines our ability to equally and democratically influence the government. My previous specificity seems to be inadequate. Therefore:

Democracy cannot coexist with plutocracy. By making American federal elections more dependent upon the will of the wealthy few, the will of the many is necessarily diminished. The Citizens United decision gives free reign to influence our government to Sultans and CEOs, and opens elected offices to a legal bidding war.

We do not elect oil barons and billionaires. They should not be writing our laws and setting our policy. But they do. This is plutocratic, not democratic.

I shall dwell this round upon the critical fact that I put forward in R1: More than 80% of all federal elections are won by the politician with the most money. What this means to democracy is terrifying. What CU does to this already bad situation is to make it much worse. To be clear, this democratic decrepitude predates CU. But since the decision, this problem has grown exponentially.

1. The influence of money in elections is not disputed by my partner, who seems unconcerned. However, this influence makes it virtually impossible for any member of the middle class to ever win election to federal office. This is antidemocratic in that the vast majority of Americans are effectively excluded from holding political office. CU makes this problem worse, by effectively barring even the upper-middle class from office.

2. I will agree that American voters are ultimately able to decide how to cast a ballot. But I deny that this is a necessary and sufficient component of democracy. CU eliminates most candidates from voter endorsement or scrutiny long before any ballots are cast. Here's how. 80% of all federal elections are won by the best funded candidate. Those potential candidates who lack high-level funding cannot compete, and therefore cannot win support from either major party. This means they will never be tested by voters. The CUD magnifies this anti-democratic paradigm, by increasing the amount of money required to be competitive.

3. Even if voters retain the ability to cast legally binding votes, we have no ability to select from a wide pool of candidates, thanks to the need to field only the most well-funded candidates. Merely by allowing more money into our democracy, CU makes worse the need for additional funding. This means that voters may only select from an ever shallowing pool of increasingly wealthy candidates.

4. My partner argues that the electorate has a few feeble abilities left to it. But these should never be considered the totality of democracy. When a constituent visits the office of her congressman at the same time as a billionaire or donor, she knows that she will be made to wait. This is plutocracy, and it is as wrong as it is anti-democratic. The CUD worsens this situation, by increasing the need for constituents to beseech their congress, cash in hand, in order to have their democratic demands heeded.

5. CU has overturned two decades of legal precedent, and has rendered unconstitutional sixty years of public law – eliminating the will of the people in all of these cases. There can be no definition of ‘democracy’ that includes such an act. [3] In the state of Montana, voters have issued repeated democratic demands that their politicians be disallowed to accept these massive gifts that are intended to influence their policy making while in office. Again and again, CU has prevented this legislation. By throwing out the will of the people, and rendering such demands impotent, CU also renders democracy itself impotent. [4] Under Citizens United, democracy is often unconstitutional.


Rebuttals

It may be the case that my partner here is attempting to make the case that:

"The CUD is an inanimate object. It can only harm democracy if it is obeyed."
If this is the case, then I must concede to the semantics. The only useful laws are the enforced ones.

Specificity
A recurring defense presented by my partner as an answer to my initial argument, (that no matter what, CU will diminish the right to speech, by monetizing it or restricting it) again - never refuted, was that my example is never quite specific enough. This has allowed him to discuss 'something' in response to my argument, but we must note that the specific example I present has been allowed to stand. The character count limit simply prevents the type of comprehensive and scholarly specificity that my partner seems to require. We all know this. Therefore, this type of tactic should be seen as a catch-all dodge.

"To assume that funding assures victory is absurd."
My partner makes this statement, possibly in an attempt to answer the fact that I presented, "80% of all Federal elections are won by the best funded candidate." As a statement of fact, this is, or is not, true. I have presented evidence that it is; in order to successfully refute this fact, my partner must demonstrate that it is false. It is not sufficient to simply say that it is absurd.

In fairness, my figure of 80% of federal elections being won by the candidate who has found the most money is low: the number is historically much higher than I say. [5]

Is there any evidence that the CUD is actively increasing the amount of money on politics? Can it be demonstrated that the public faith in elected officials is lower after the CUD? Yes. [1] The public’s confidence in Congress is historically low. Money, and it’s corrupting back-room influence, has surged. [2]

My partner argues that attempts to influence voters are fair game. I agree fully. But the decisions that create legislation do not come from voters, but also from donors. Shall we go over evidence that highly-positioned lobbyists guide politicians as laws are drafted? I think that this is so obvious that no such investigation is required. By making this problem so much worse, the CUD damages democracy.


Money buys elections. Citizens United makes this worse.

"My opponent makes the argument that money buys elections byproviding the statistic that 80% of candidates with themost money win the elections. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with this."
This argument makes the case that there is "absolutely nothing wrong" with oil barons wining and dining congressmen on Caribbean beaches with unlimited corporate funding. I want to point out:

1. Fewer Americans are donating to electioneering. The few that are, thanks to CU, are donating more than the GDP of small nations. Only 0.23% of Americans donate more than $200, yet this tiny minority delivers a staggering 66.3% of all of those hundreds of millions of dollars to political candidates. [6]

2. Nations, backing corporations based in America, can use money taxed away from their citizens to conduct electioneering and back room bribery in the US - thanks to CU. Not even American corporations can compete with that level of funding.

3. These two facts disprove the argument that more money necessarily proves popular support. Americans do not "support" the Congress. As the polls prove. At least not as much as Americans supported King George.


[1] http://www.realclearpolitics.com...
[2] [3] http://www.brennancenter.org...
[4] http://www.huffingtonpost.com...
[5] http://www.politifact.com...
[6] http://desertbeacon.wordpress.com...
Debate Round No. 3
KodyHarris

Con

I thank my opponent for his thorough response.

Democracy cannot coexist with plutocracy. By making American federal elections more dependent upon the will of the wealthy few, the will of the many is necessarily diminished. The Citizens United decision gives free reign to influence our government to Sultans and CEOs, and opens elected offices to a legal bidding war.

My opponent has failed to respond to the most crucial argument I’m making: political equality and economic equality are two separate things. It is the very nature of our constitutional republic (not democracy) to have discrepancies in external efficacy among the economic classes. My opponent has also failed to respond to the “Zuckerberg” argument I make that demonstrates variance in the power of speech. Once again, some people don’t have their voices heard as effectively as others, which my opponent uses to display apparent damage to free speech. This is not the case. The Constitution guarantees freedom of speech, and neither enumerates or implies the freedom to be heard nor equally heard.

This dilution of the will of the many cannot be attributed to the CUD, because it’s legally impossible. Now, the dilution of the political voice can, but it’s been present in society due to population growth. Your typical low-middle class citizen does not have much of a voice in the political world. It takes initiative and action, and unfortunately, through our free market, money. However, this does not undermine democracy. Super PACS are not the only political voice in the game. Voices with legitimate political points and concerns are often heard through word of mouth via degradation of communicational barriers (Internet). The rhetorically strong but contextually weak advertisements from Super PACs infesting media are becoming more of a nuisance than everything, inadvertently encourages the legitimacy and rationality of political voice.

This is plutocratic, not democratic.

I shall dwell this round upon the critical fact that I put forward in R1: More than 80% of all federal elections are won by the politician with the most money.

My opponent initially ignored and later unsuccessfully refuted my argument provided below:

“More money could also imply more populous political support. Just because more money is contributed to the election does not mean the will of the many is being undermined. It could just mean that there are literally more supporters of this candidate.”

He later, at the end of his argument, said that two facts disproved this claim; first, that fewer Americans are donating to electioneering, and secondly, that nations, backing corporations based in America, can use money taxed away from their citizens to conduct electioneering and back room bribery in the US -- thanks to CU.

These two arguments in no way refute the likelihood of more money in elections implying majority support. This argument essentially implies that Americans are terribly vulnerable to rhetoric and that the contributors are solely composed of corrupt foreign shell corporations. There is absolutely no evidence to indicate this. Corporations that are donating could literally be small to medium local businesses that just happen to be incorporated. After all, there are 29,413,039 established firms in the United States [1]. Not all of these are giant mega-corporations that want to exploit our economy and ruin democracy for their own profit. This argument is terribly cynical and holds no normative weight.

Moving onto his arguments:

1. The influence of money in elections is not disputed by my partner

I've disputed this again and again. Once again, the explicit electoral process is completely insulated from monetary influence. Money doesn't vote. Everything else is a persuasion game. He then later makes the argument that it’s wrong that middle-class Americans can never be elected. In today’s world, you need money to be heard. Equality of results does not exist. Not every politician is going to have a Horatio Alger story.

My opponent finally moves on to discussing the issue of electoral insulation.

2. But I deny that this is a necessary and sufficient component of democracy. CU eliminates most candidates from voter endorsement or scrutiny long before any ballots are cast. 80% of all federal elections are won by the best funded candidate. Those potential candidates who lack high-level funding cannot compete, and therefore cannot win support from either major party. This means they will never be tested by voters.

My opponent fails to regard the political virtue in earning financial endorsement. Once again, not every funding corporation is going to be a corrupt foreign shell corporation. Getting money for your campaign is a crucial element of the political game. Raising and accounting for this money requires a staff of fund-raisers, lawyers, and accountants. You also need a press secretary, a travel scheduler, an advertising specialist, a direct-mail company, and a pollster, all of whom must be paid, plus a large number of volunteers in at least those states that hold early primary elections or party caucuses. These elements were necessary even before CU. Corporations are just now an additional way to earn financial endorsement. Saying this is wrong due to the potential of corruption is merely speculative and can be extended to any monetary source.

3. Even if voters retain the ability to cast legally binding votes, we have no ability to select from a wide pool of candidates, thanks to the need to field only the most well-funded candidates.

The aforementioned argument can be applied to this argument as well. If people want to be heard, they’re going to need money, and they’re going to need a lot of it. With the developing population and globalization, it’s becoming more and more difficult to get your voice heard, so to do it and attract the attention of many is going to be quite an effort.

4. My partner argues that the electorate has a few feeble abilities left to it. But these should never be considered the totality of democracy. When a constituent visits the office of her congressman at the same time as a billionaire or donor, she knows that she will be made to wait. This is plutocracy, and it is as wrong as it is anti-democratic.

This is rhetorical plutocracy. I once again reference the “Zuckerberg” argument. Some people will have an easier time having their voices heard. This billionaire, however, does not exert political inequality. There is legislation preventing quid pro quo and the most the billionaire will do is attempt to influence the already elected politician.

5. CU has overturned two decades of legal precedent, and has rendered unconstitutional sixty years of public law – eliminating the will of the people in all of these cases. There can be no definition of ‘democracy’ that includes such an act.

Landmark cases happen all the time [2]. There is nothing wrong with overturning some previous legislation. Legislators still struggle to decipher the “true” intentions of the framers. This does not undermine democracy.

Touching on rebuttals:

Specificity

I addressed the catch-22 above. See the issue of freedom of speech v. freedom of being heard. As for specificity, I simply require my opponent pose his arguments in a democratic fashion. I clarified this in my first response, in that my opponent inadvertently argued that “anything that seems to contradict the idea of fairness or goodness is also contradicting the concept of democracy.”

It is not sufficient to simply say that it is absurd.

I substantiated it with logic above.

Shall we go over evidence that highly-positioned lobbyists guide politicians as laws are drafted?

Once again, quid pro quo is illegal and cannot be considered in this debate, since it is demarcated by legislation.

Money buys elections. Citizens United makes this worse.

See my response to plutocracy.

[1] http://www.census.gov...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org...
DeFool

Pro

I thank my partner for his spirited and steadfast argument. I must say that I am surprised by his tenacity – I didn’t expect it. I must answer as many of his arguments as I am able, but also must find time to present a few new arguments as well – as this is the final round in which I am allowed to do so.

“Political equality and economic equality are two separate things.”

Not in a democratic state. Democracy, by definition, requires that all citizens are seen as equals in the eyes of the state – with no regard to station, wealth, titles or class. My partner here argues that it is fair and just that those with greater wealth should hold greater influence over the government, which is the premise of plutocracy and oligarchy – but not democracy. He may have a point, in that it is actually fair and just – but it cannot be democratic, and that is the point that we are discussing. Citizens United has made worse this plutocratic slide.

“More money could also imply more populous political support.”

Yes, it could – but it could also evidence more corruption or personal wealth. A stronger argument is required, in order to eliminate these conditions and demonstrate convincingly that money (which is delivered to politicians in far more healthy doses thanks to Citizens United) does not influence policy decisions.

“Money doesn't vote.”

Neither do corporations. Money, however does influence behavior – witness the girl who works forty hours a week for some of it. Witness the politician, who writes laws that benefit corporate giants for a truckload of it. Witness the congressional intern, helping to “regulate” the industry that his corrupt congressional boss is “policing” in the public interest. This intern will soon be an employee of that industry – and he knows it. Citizens United allows corporations to hire the very governmental agencies that are regulating them. [1]

“Getting money for your campaign is a crucial element of the political game.”

This argument, made by my partner, is exactly the same as mine. Citizens United makes this element even more crucial. It is important to point out that this is not a necessary component of democracy – the State of Texas, for example, only allows a total of $25 to be spent throughout the entirety of any election for the coveted position of Speaker of the House of the Texas House of Representatives. There is no reason that the same rule could not be applied to all federal elections – and work exactly as well as it does in the Texas House.

“There is legislation preventing quid pro quo and the most the billionaire will do is attempt to influence the already elected politician.”

This is stated as if it were “no big deal.” If this is occurring on a widespread basis, as my partner claims, then we have no functioning democracy now – regardless of the Citizens United ruling. Attempting to influence the already elected with money and gifts should never be tolerated by any electorate. This is aristocratic rule, and something that Americans have fought wars to remove from our politics.

“There is nothing wrong with overturning some previous legislation. Legislators still struggle to decipher the “true” intentions of the framers. This does not undermine democracy.”

In my example of the Montana case, the voters of Montana attempted to restrict corruption among their political overlords – and had their every democratic effort swept away by the SCOTUS, enforcing its treasured Citizens United decision. There is no definition of democracy that allows for an unelected minority of decision makers to overrule the expressed will of the people.

It should be remembered that any legislation that attempts to second guess the Citizens United ruling is illegal. As a Supreme Court decision, any such legislation would automatically be unconstitutional.

“Quid pro quo is illegal and cannot be considered in this debate”

I am arguing that quid pro quo was illegal – before the Citizens United case made these laws unenforceable. By unenforceable, I point out that removing McCain Feingold (struck down by the CUD) removes the legal requirement to report the source of corporate donations to congress. Without even being allowed to know where the money is coming from, there is no way to determine if quid pro quo is occurring. It is not legal, but is also impossible to enforce.

By stating this, it is clear that my partner is arguing that quid pro quo is ‘wrong’ and implicitly anti-democratic. Since Citizens United entirely prevents these laws from being enforced, we see agreement that the decision undermines democracy.

Seeds and Stems

I am out of space – and largely unable to present several other arguments comprehensively. I need to make a few points, however frugal I wish to be with my character count.

Democracy or Republic?

Our nation is a hybrid system, a republic that operates on a democratic matrix, overseen by strict constitutional restrictions placed on the state, and occasionally, the majority of citizens. (Citizens are not allowed to own slaves, for example.) I argue that it is the democratic element that forever sets our nation apart from other republics, such as the Republics of Iran and Iraq, the Soviet Socialist Republics or the People’s Republic of China. I argue that the republican and constitutional elements are necessary but not sufficient components to our American system, and should be maintained just as fervently as our democratic elements. I feel that Citizens United destroys these institutions, as I have argued, but also that it destroys our constitution – by making its welfare increasingly vulnerable to insidious erosion by powerful and well placed special interests. Soon, we may all be “represented” by a congress that we hate – but whose decisions we are powerless to reverse... without the ability to outbid the beneficiaries of the Citizens United ruling.

The need to connect with constituents versus the need to find money

As my partner points out, the need to find money is critical - the voters can be reached through advertising. What this means is that the process of "getting to personally know" a congressman is reserved to those with money - and crude advertising is all that is left to the voters. This cannot be democracy - but oligarchy. As soon as a congressional recess happens, our lawmakers are chasing money from whatever source they can find. They are not connecting with local voters, or working on legislation. Nothing else is as important as getting enough campaign cash to win that 80% likelihood that they will be re-elected.


80% of all federal elections are won by the candidate with the most money.

There is no definition of democracy that argues that only those with money should represent the people. We may discuss the reasons for these "gifts" to be given to the Congressman, but not the need to have them in order to get elected. Citizens United pushes this requirement even further in the wrong, and less democratic, direction.

Who Wins?

Readers must ask my partner, as they evaluate our performances here – who wins as a result of the Citizens United decision? Is it the common person – who lacks station and wealth? Or is it the Company Boss, the Faceless Corporation, or the White, Landowning Man? Are the needs of the normal girl, working her way through school answered by this decision? Do we trust that her welfare and democratic authority will be protected if these needs second guess the paymasters of our congressman? In an America where the congressman has an existential reason to obey the Company Boss, thanks to Citizens United, how will “we the people” respond? It can’t be by protecting our “right” to bribe our lawmakers if we wish to protect democracy.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...

Debate Round No. 4
KodyHarris

Con

I thank my opponent for his final response.

"Not in a democratic state. Democracy, by definition, requires that all citizens are seen as equals in the eyes of the state " with no regard to station, wealth, titles or class."

The United States is not a democracy. It is, by definition, a constitutional republic that has democratic elements. Since democracy does not entirely exist within the United States, the argument that Citizens United undermines democracy as whole is absurd because it does not exist as a whole already. What we are arguing is whether the existing democratic elements are undermined.

The primary form of democracy within the United States is the representative, indirect form. A wealthy individual has the same vote as an improverished individual. This democratic element is not being undermined. However, the plutocracy exists merely within the marketplace of ideas. This is naturally occuring, and Citizens United does not do much to change this. Prior to Citizens United, if Bill Gates released a statement condemning the President of the United States, this would get a lot more attention and hold more influence than it would if some low-middle class individual uploaded a video to YouTube complaining. Money is just another element of this inequality of being heard. Citizens United only streamlines this concept. It does not undermine the democratic system whatsoever; it remains intact.

"Yes, it could " but it could also evidence more corruption or personal wealth."

This argument is not going to go anywhere. There is no evidence supporting either side. This is merely a potential argument; a "this could be happening but we can"t know" argument. Therefore, this argument just cannot be used to affirm or negate the topic. It is another "what if" argument that does not contribute to the active verb "undermines".
Money however does influence behavior. . . Citizens United allows corporations to hire the very governmental agencies that are regulating them.

Citizens United does not change the fact that money influences behavior. It only gives it another medium to do so. This influence is protected under the first amendment. If a corporation wishes to pay someone to excersize political speech, they have every right to do so " this is what Citizens United upheld. Citizens United does not allow corporations to hire the very governmental agencies that are regulating them. My opponent"s citation on this was a link to the Wikipedia article on PACs. There was no evidence indicating that this change happens.

"Citizens United makes this element even more crucial . . . There is no reason that the same rule could not be applied to all federal elections " and work exactly as well as it does in the Texas House."

This argument is not valid. Firstly, the Speaker of the House of the Texas House of Representatives is elected internally: The Texas Constitution requires the House of Representatives, each time a new legislature convenes, to choose one of its own members to serve as speaker. Therefore, this process is alienated from the people and therefore does not need to be an expensive campaign. Federal Elections hold volumes more weight than state elections do, and therefore political speech becomes a lot more crucial. With a growing population, one needs more money to get more attention.

". . . we have no functioning democracy now " regardless of the Citizens United ruling. Attempting to influence the already elected with money and gifts should never be tolerated by any electorate. This is aristocratic rule, and something that Americans have fought wars to remove from our politics."

Two problems with this argument:

To say we have no functioning democracy means that there is no democracy left for the CUD to undermine, and therefore doesn"t.

There are limits on these gifts " a total of $100 except from spouses or personal friends. Lobbyists may not pay for gifts, official travel, legal defense funds, or charitable contributions to groups controlled by senators. Outside earned income may not exceed 15 percent of a senator"s salary.

"There is no definition of democracy that allows for an unelected minority of decision makers to overrule the expressed will of the people."

There is no real risk of corrupting the democratic process or free speech. [1]
"Rich individuals and talented polemicists have always been permitted to put out quantities and qualities of speech that may exert a disproportionate influence on society, but political opponents and voters have always been trusted to evaluate these speakers" arguments for themselves, respond with counter-arguments, and ultimately make up their own minds about the truth of any matter of controversy."

"Citizens United case made these laws unenforceable."

Once again, this is a potential fear, and was equally possible prior to the Citizens United case. Citizens United merely streamlines the issues. Citizens United had no legal impact on the nondisclosure of the identity of contributors to certain not-for-profit groups. [2]

"I feel that Citizens United destroys . . . our constitution. "

Citizens United merely upheld and affirmed the first amendment. Free speech for corporations has strong judicial precedent.

To quote Justice Scalia in his concurring opinion: "The first amendment has long been extended beyond isolated individuals to groups and associations whose members gather for a wide variety of purposes ranging from political to commercial. The Democratic party, the Sierra club, and the New York Times aren"t individuals, but their speech nonetheless falls under the umbrella of First Amendment protection. But the formalistic obsession with whether a corporation should have the legal status of a "person" with a "right" to free speech quite misses the substantive issues at stake."

Nothing else is as important as getting enough campaign cash to win that 80% likelihood that they will be re-elected.
Citizens United is just a boogeyman that won"t affect elections. Money has always been a crucial issue in the electoral process. [3]

"Who Wins?"

Firstly, my opponent dropped several of my arguments that lead to inevitable concession on his part. I leave I up to the voter to determine these, as my character count is waning.

The Citizens United ruling is a law that protects the free speech of an enormous number of groups of individuals. My opponent claimed that this only protected the interest of the "White, Landowning Man", and other rich individuals. The primary interest in the Citizens United ruling was to protect free speech, the key to democracy. Corporations have every right to participate in political speech, along with the voice of any other individual. All of these negative consequences are censorship. I thank my opponent for an engaging debate, and I am sad that the character count has bottlenecked the brilliant potential of this debate. I ask my voters to carefully consider what free speech is, and if congress has any right to abridge it.

[1] http://www.nationalreview.com...
[2] http://www.thenation.com...
[3]http://articles.hearld-mail.com...
DeFool

Pro

I want to thank my partner for presenting this challenge. I have enjoyed a great deal the week or two that we have spent discussing this topic.

I will offer a few rebuttals, and my closing summary.

“The United States is not a democracy.”

Perhaps this was written before my entire Round Four arguments had been read, because I covered this topic towards the end. I am glad that my partner and I agree on this point: the US is a hybrid political system.

“However, the plutocracy exists merely within the marketplace of ideas…If Bill Gates released a statement condemning the President of the United States, this would get a lot more attention and hold more influence than it would if some low-middle class individual uploaded a video to YouTube complaining.”

This is either an non-sequitur fallacy, or a profound misunderstanding. I am certain that we all agree that there are abilities available to the wealthy that are not obtainable by the rest of society. The ability to gain widespread attention is one of these abilities. However, we are here discussing governmental influence – and the impact that funding political careers has on those careers. One of these abilities should not be a greater ability to fund political careers as a means of controlling the government. Citizens United provides this ability, and therefore undermines our democratic institutions.

"Yes, it could, but it could also evidence more corruption or personal wealth."

(This was the response to my rebuttal of the argument that better funded campaigns could indicate greater levels of popular support. I argued that this is not necessarily the case, and therefore, stronger argumentation would be needed to prove that other factors were not at play.) Here my partner concedes to my logic, and agrees that his argument was pointless to pursue. Compare:

Con: “More money could also imply more populous political support. Just because more money is contributed to the election does not mean the will of the many is being undermined. It could just mean that there are literally more supporters of this candidate.”

My Rebuttal: “Yes, it could – but it could also evidence more corruption or personal wealth. A stronger argument is required, in order to eliminate these conditions and demonstrate convincingly that money does not influence policy decisions”.

Con’s Defense:This argument is not going to go anywhere. There is no evidence supporting either side. This is merely a potential argument; a "this could be happening but we can’t know" argument. Therefore, this argument just cannot be used to affirm or negate the topic.”

My response: I couldn’t have said it better, but I did say it faster.

“Citizens United does not allow corporations to hire the very governmental agencies that are regulating them. My opponent’s citation on this was a link to the Wikipedia article on PACs. There was no evidence indicating that this change happens.”

I cited a Wiki on Super PACs, because the creation of these PACS (made possible by Citizens United) creates the lack of oversight that does – in fact – allow corporations to hire the regulators that would otherwise limit their unethical activities. The precise way this happens is complex – hence my link to the explanation. Nutshell: there are no longer any meaningful laws that are constitutional after Citizens United which prevent government regulators from being hired out by the corporations they regulate. If a corporation today wants to hire a regulator, there is now a simple process for this: the regulator goes to work for the corporation and quits working in DC. The elegant simplicity of this process makes it far more similar to bribery than “free speech:” fearful of sabotaging a potential lucrative career path, the regulators do not enforce the laws too strictly, and therefore burn any important bridges.

I point out that if billionaires are being permitted to legally bribe elected officials on a widespread basis then our democratic agencies are long since dead. It seems that my partner made a bit much of this statement, pretending that I had argued that there was no democracy for Citizens United to undermine. He also points out that there are limits to this gift-giving. I must point out that Citizens United makes these limits unconstitutional, and unenforceable – if they are given to the campaign and not the candidate. Since my partner seems to agree with me that this activity is as unethical as it is anti-democratic, I feel that it should be considered an important concession.

Citizens United merely upholds the First Amendment

The First Amendment pertains only to American citizens – not American legal agreements or groups. The entire concept of liberty (such as freedom of speech) is completely incoherent and nonsensical on a mass scale – it can only relate to individuals. In order for “free speech” to be protected in the context of allowing corporate bribery to occur in the broad daylight is tantamount to suggesting that corporations are individual citizens – an absurd concept.

To reveal how absurd this idea is, all that must be done is to attempt to apply other portions of the constitution to them (as the cherished First Amendment is granted to them by my partner.) Can corporations be elected to political office? Can a corporation (that is more than 35 years old) sit in the White House? Can they sit on a jury? Obviously not. The recourse to the cherished idea of “freedom of speech” cannot be applied to groups – these are strictly individual rights. In order to grant these individual liberties to groups and legal charters (such as corporations) necessarily strips them from all individuals within those groups – into a collectivist corporatized version of humanity that is a horror to most Americans.

I need to point out that character counting has forced me to not answer various minor arguments presented by my partner. There was never any agreement to count these drops as concessions, and so I left a few of the less relevant arguments out of my rebuttals in order to save space.

Citizens United has allowed the fact and promise of money to supersede voting and democracy in the eyes of elected officials. While voters are allowed to determine this or that unimportant referendum – will this highway be extended? Will that school be rebuilt? On every other important matter we must endure the humiliation of having our cute little cheeks pinched, and our darling little forelocks shaken by those who hold these offices. We simply no longer dictate to our congress; it now commands us. On no important decision will our congressional paymaster allow themselves to lose. That highway extension? The company that funded the Mayoral Election will be awarded that. That school construction? The company that the Chairman of the City Council has invested in will build that.

This is not democracy, but it is the government that we have after Citizens United. This decision allows non-human, non citizen, and often non-resident entities to exert a heavy influence on our governance. Since these entities may have priorities that are enormously at odds with those of our nation, we must restrict their ability to make themselves our masters - by buying elected offices.

In closing, I want to sincerely thank my partner for his time - I am always flattered by the decision to engage in this type of gaming with me instead of the many other things that can be done. I also want to thank the readers (and hopefully, voters) who will evaluate this contest. I hope that our judges will not consider my performance here too harshly. This was a wide subject, and very difficult to narrow down. I am certain that my partner and I agree on this. Under no circumstances am I arrogant enough to feel that I said all that can be said on this topic.

Debate Round No. 5
17 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
We appear to have fought to a draw. Congratulations on having completed this debate with me. I look forward to our next contest.
Posted by KodyHarris 4 years ago
KodyHarris
The primary object of the resolution was to determine whether the Citizens United decision actively undermined democracy. If a resolution was: "The use of pesticides kills people", providing evidence that might suggest potential deaths does not warrant an affirmation of the resolution. There is no direct evidence that Citizens United is actively undermining democracy, which I brought out several times in argumentation - but I do accept your decision to tie the debate; I feel as if my opponent and I have a lot of ground to cover regarding this Supreme Court Decision. We will be debating corporate personhood in another topic - here's the link if you're interested in following it: http://www.debate.org...
Posted by DenyEverything 4 years ago
DenyEverything
"my argument turned on whether or not money corrodes our democratic systems at all." I must say I did not see this from reading the debate, however I am willing believe that that was what the debate was about, and I can see that you did prove that, and that you did prove that Citizens United brings more money into the system. However, I thought the debate was about whether Citizens United potentially harms US democracy, which I didn't think you were able to prove as well. I will call this one a tie. Thank you and great debate!
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
@Deny Everything:

Thank you for your input, I will consider your evaluation as I compose future debates.

Although I want to clearly state that I am prepared to accept you judgement, I want nevertheless to quibble.

It was not my task in this debate to "prove" a causal relationship between the Citizens United case and the damage to democracy. I was not defending the premise of the debate, simply challenging it. If this evidence would have been convincing to you in determining the strength of the premise (that CU does not undermine democracy), then I would like to to reconsider: my argument turned on whether or not money corrodes our democratic systems at all. If we agree, as I hope that we might, that this assertion is true, then Citizens United, by increasing this trend, does harm democracy directly.

P1. Money influences policy decisions (without including the disputed role that it plays in campaigning directly)

P2. Citizens United increases the amount of money, and the potential for corruption in our democratic systems

Conclusion: By increasing the potential for corruption, the Citizens United decision undermines democracy.

Arguing that all of this is 'potential' harm is, to my mind, not unlike arguing that a stabbing victim was unharmed by the knife - but rather the attacking stabber. My argument rests on the assertion that the stabber should be unarmed, and that corrupt politicians should not be afforded the CU-awarded powers given to them.

Remember - it was not necessary for me to argue that CU undermines democracy entirely, only that it undermines democracy 'at all.' I believe that this condition was met. So certain am I, in fact, that I am making this very rare request for an appeal.

If this was the basis for that particular point being awarded, I ask that you reconsider. Otherwise, I will respect your decision, and accept it, however much it pains me to do so.
Posted by DenyEverything 4 years ago
DenyEverything
Congratulations on wonderful debate. Will put this in comments as well. Reason for vote: Pro put up potential harms to democracy, and could not effectively prove actual harms to democracy that have occurred. Pro showed that voter confidence was low and that money/influence was high but could not prove a causal situation. Overall great debate and congratulations to both.
Posted by KodyHarris 4 years ago
KodyHarris
I enjoyed this debate thoroughly. I had some difficulty in framing arguments, as I went into this topic with almost zero knowledge about the topic at hand with the opposite opinion. Regardless, I'm extremely pleased with the way things turned out. However, I'm sad that this debate was not as comprehensive as it could have been and should have been - I feel like the final rounds were just rushed and circular.

You have an excellent style of writing and I applaud you for it. I do apologize for my format issues; due to a miscalculation of time, I turned in my final round 30 seconds before it was due and was unable to comb out all of the errors.

This topic is indubitably fascinating, and I now found myself buried in oral argument transcripts and court documents since this topic is an issue I'm going to be debating for the rest of the year. In the near future I am looking to debate this issue again, but with a significantly larger emphasis on legal and constitutional technicalities. Your proficiency in the area would come to great use there and I invite you to consider debating the topic again, but with that legal twist.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
Congratulations on completing this debate with me. I think that we may have spent more than a week conducting this contest.

For the record, I enjoy this game quite a bit. This recent competition with you has been quite difficult for me - I believe that the I was "too close" to the topic to have fun with it. Your idea to quote the SCOTUS justices themselves was a brilliant move, and one that I would have liked to have emulated.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
I am not boasting, but I was surprised at how easily this round came out. This time the character count gave me no trouble. I still have some trepidation to re-read it, for fear that I inadvertently said some godawful silly thing: I wrote the entire argument in under 15 minutes.

In another debate, also today, I accidentally confirmed my partner's premise. I hope this will go unnoticed. It might. I doubt that you would miss it, however. For the record, I blame the iphone 4S. With it's mischievous auotcorrect and the apps' eyestrain display for that.
Posted by KodyHarris 4 years ago
KodyHarris
Wow, 0 characters remaining. Phew.
Posted by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
I am familiar with the sites formatting problems. They are, in fact, notorious.

For my part, I write everything up on Word, and then copy and paste it into the submission box. I then correct the formatting for the rest of the afternoon. I'm only half joking, saying this.
1 votes has been placed for this debate.
Vote Placed by DenyEverything 4 years ago
DenyEverything
KodyHarrisDeFoolTied
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Reasons for voting decision: Congratulations on wonderful debate. Will put this in comments as well. Reason for vote: Pro put up potential harms to democracy, and could not effectively prove actual harms to democracy that have occurred. Pro showed that voter confidence was low and that money/influence was high but could not prove a causal situation. Overall great debate and congratulations to both.