It turns out that I was wrong about Dana Balter when I called out to find a billionaire Democrat to assist in financing her campaign.
Dana Balter does not want to be beholden to any special interests. She wants to be beholden to we the people. She is a principled candidate and would like a grassroots funded campaign.
Democrats, for the most part, feel that the Supremes made a bad call when they decided on behalf of Citizen’s United over the Federal Election Commission. The original beef was about whether a film slanted against Hillary Clinton could be aired during a Presidential campaign and yet the way the case was framed it ended up as a decision that granted “personhood” to corporations. The court decided that this was a first amendment case and in their decision they extended first amendment rights to nonprofits, corporations, and unions.
“In Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, however, the majority argued that the First Amendment purposefully keeps the government from interfering in the “marketplace of ideas” and “rationing” speech, and it is not up to the legislatures or the courts to create a sense of “fairness” by restricting speech.” Wikipedia
By extension “money is speech” is a concept that resulted from this court decision in 2010. Since then feelings about this equivalency have polarized American politics. Many, mostly Democrats, were aghast at a law that equated votes and money, giving public organizations essentially more than one vote, because of the ways powerful groups with access to beaucoup dollars could influence public opinion through spending. The main objection is that this removes elections even further from the sphere of we the people. It makes our Democracy even less representative than it already is (because of the Electoral College and things like Superdelegates). But Conservatives, currently beloved by a number of billionaires and courted by corporations because of their stand on issues like fossil fuels and environmentalism, rejoiced when the court’s ruling went “their” way. Since then the money we see in local elections has risen precipitously.
Can David win once again over Goliath? Can Dana Balter use small donations to triumph against John Katko who shows no compunctions about accepting and using dollars from big donors and Conservative PACs? We already know that Katko has a campaign war chest in the low 7 figures and Dana’s is in the low 6 figures. Dana not only has the money obstacle to climb over; she has the matter of incumbency to deal with. To beat an incumbent takes even more momentum and support than to compete against another “newbie”.
But we could use some politicians with principles in Washington, we could use some new energy and we could use someone who sees their loyalty as belonging to we the people rather than the party that places her on the ballot. If you want to watch a fighter with a very laid-back style and fine intellectual skills take on someone like Rep. Jim Jordan vote for vote with civility then you need to support Dana Balter, and not just with your words. You need to prove that politicians can indeed win without contributions from special interests with their quid pro quostrings attached. You need to send Dana’s campaign some of your hard-earned dollars. You need to vote for her in November. She, in turn, will truly represent the needs and rights of all of her constituents and of the towns, cities, and villages of New York District 24.