U.S. image abroad harmed by McCutcheon decision


A recent post from Ivan Krastev at Open Society Foundations compared Americans’ reaction to the Supreme Court’s undoing of campaign finance laws to a frog slowly being boiled in water: By the time we realize what’s happening, it’s too late to scream.

Someone at a demonstration holding up a sign that says follow the money.

No doubt the average American is only slowly awakening the damage the Roberts’ court is doing to our democracy. Creating a government of the rich, for the rich and by the rich is likely to be the most damaging legacy of the Roberts court. But, as Americans, we should also be concerned about the image that our nascent plutocracy projects abroad. As Krastev notes “From an overseas perspective, it seems you could organize a revolution, and it would probably be cheaper than winning an election. When organizing a revolution is cheaper than winning an election, something is very wrong.”

This should be an “occasion for outrage.” Unfortunately, in the U.S., voters seem to have become accustomed to the very things that disgust them. However, there may be some hope for reform in the short term in the form of modest but vital measures. The Real Time Transparency Act was introduced as an immediate response to the Supreme Court’s McCutcheon decision as a way to shine more light on the massive contributions that will likely be the result of the Court’s actions. More sweeping reforms will likely have to wait for a scandal — inevitable given the amount of money that is now pouring into the system.