The Instigator
BF3MEDIC
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
neveragain
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission harms election process

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
neveragain
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/13/2012 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 17,487 times Debate No: 28171
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (4)

 

BF3MEDIC

Pro

The Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (we'll refer to it from here-on as, simply, Citizens United) decision was a Supreme Court decision released in 2010. In a narrow 5-4 decision, the court held that political spending is speech protected under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Post-Citizens United, corporations or unions are free to spend money to support or denounce candidates in elections. They cannot make direct contributions to campaigns to fund their activities, but they may make statements in advertisements or other media about candidates for office.

My first contention is 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."

My second contention is 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.

My third contention is Citizens United allows corporations to spend people's money on causes with which they may not agree. Money isn't speech and corporations aren't people. 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").

It is for those reasons that the resolution is correct in saying that the Supreme Court's decision is harmful to the election process.
neveragain

Con

Resolved: on balance the supreme court ruling on citizens united harms the election process. My partner and I stand on firm negation of this resolution for these points"
Contention 1: Without Citizens united the election process will be jeopardized
Contention 2: Citizens united allows voters to be more informed about elections

Contention 1: Without Citizens united the election process will be jeopardized. I would like to start out with saying that citizens united is a main contributor to the election process, in fact it is responsible for 78% of funds according to https://www.commondreams.org... With citizens united people have the ability to help change the out comeof the election by giving money to candidates. It is a well known fact that the most crucial key to winning an election is the resources you have ie money. With citizens united in place it gives candidates a "safety net" of funds to keep their campaigns in progress. If citizens united were revoked that "safety net" would disappear, and have the possibility knock a candidate out of the election. This clearly contradicts what my the pro side is tiring to prove, which is that citizens united harms the election process, in fact it helps the election process.
Contention 2: Citizens united allows voters to be more informed about elections. Citizens United plays a big role in provide funding for these advertisements. It is a well known fact that a large majority of money is spent on political advertising. Advertisements are also often considered the most important part of campaigning because a candidate can reach out to a large amount of people with one advertisement. With these advertisements Americans can become more informed on what is happening in the political world. In most cases advertisements are the main source of information for voters, meaning that those advertisements have a large impact on the election. With Citizens United advertisements can be more abundant, properly informing voters on political situations. Due to this citizens united actually protects the election process, because it gives each candidate the resources they need to pay for advertisements. Without citizens united it would give an unfair advantage with the candidate with the most amount of money, so with citizens united it actually creates a "more pure" election process.
Debate Round No. 1
BF3MEDIC

Pro

Unlimited spending gives an edge to certain candidates, allowing them to effectively "drown out" the other candidates message. Also, the court's decision allows for corporations to spend investor money (without the consent of the investor) on causes with which the investor(s) may not agree. Also, as I stated before, 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. This is very important as it shows that democracy itself is damaged by the supreme court's decision.
People are not always truthfully informed by Super Pacs. Ads made by super pacs often distort the truth and/or may not do anything but attack the opponent of a candidate with false information. This is harmful to the election process in that people are fed incomplete truth and/or complete lies.
neveragain

Con

First of all my opponent said Citizens United gives unfair advantages" however that is completely false. If his statement were true than, historically speaking, every election was won by the candidate with more money. This is completely false disproving his attack. His second point that, "the court's decision allows for corporations to spend investor money (without the consent of the investor) on causes with which the investor(s) may not agree" is irrelevant to today"s topic, because it doesn"t show how citizens united harms the lection process. His third attack was that Citizens United is devastating to democracy" however if this were true, then we would already see democracy being effected, and would have been repelled by the Supreme Court. His final attack was that Super Pacs spread false lies, however one can not blame Super Pacs alone for causing this, and in order for this argument to be valid he must give a direct link to Super Pacs being the cause for all of the lies.
I shall now attack his case in order for his first point to stand he must give me an example of a time corporations make a political statement using their investors money without their knowledge, since that is what his first point is about. In his second point he must show that Citizens United DIRECTLY empowers corporate managers to use money that isn't their own to make their own political statements. If he can not prove either, both points are invalid because his points would be based on a the possibility of something happening, not what actually what has happened.
Debate Round No. 2
BF3MEDIC

Pro

My point is far from invalid, as I never stated that the candidate with more money always wins. I stated that candidates with MORE MONEY can spread more political ads and ideas and drown out their opponent's views and ads, which is true. Second, the supreme court is very liberal, and even though we have seen detrimental damage to democracy, the supreme court wouldn't admit a mistake and "repeal" (as I think my opponent meant) a decision such as this one, especially after only two years. An example? Here. http://www.opensecrets.org.... My opponent appears to not have much of a point of his own, but to only attack with invalid reasoning my points.
neveragain

Con

My opponent still can not say that the more money "drown out opponents arguments" because more money does not mean that the opposing candidates opinions will be drown out. His arguments would still exist even if the opposing candidate did have more money. He also argued that the Supreme Court is very liberal, however that does not mean they would ignore what is best for America. Now to summarize my points and why they still hold strong in today"s debate. I showed in my first point that if we removed Citizens United it would harm the election process more than help it, as brought up in a piece of evidence I presented. I proved that Citizens United account for 78% of money in the election, and if we removed that it would take away the "safety net" and could force candidates to drop out of an election. Since he failed to disprove this my argument still stands in today"s debate. My second point showed that Citizens United helps keep voters informed. My main argument was that advertisements are a key part of an election, and that Citizens United helps fund these advertisements, informing the common voter. However with citizens united gone, these advertisements would go down in number and less inform us about what is going on in the political world, thus harming the election process. My opponent also failed to disprove this meaning the argument still holds in today"s debate.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by dmacgolfer1 3 years ago
dmacgolfer1
BF3MEDICneveragainTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: con was more convincing and didnt copy from a web site
Vote Placed by cyman 3 years ago
cyman
BF3MEDICneveragainTied
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Total points awarded:01 
Reasons for voting decision: BF3MEDIC's case is online... http://debate-central.ncpa.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=74&t=35930
Vote Placed by The_Master_Riddler 3 years ago
The_Master_Riddler
BF3MEDICneveragainTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: attacked argument about money doesn't always drown out voice
Vote Placed by WriterSelbe 3 years ago
WriterSelbe
BF3MEDICneveragainTied
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Total points awarded:61 
Reasons for voting decision: Default conduct to Con b/c Pro has no soul. Pro had more convincing arguments due to passive aggressive intentions of mine toward the Con. Therefore, the round, in my opinion, goes to Pro.