In a momentous decision last week, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down crucial parts of the 2002 McCain-Feingold campaign-finance law. The upshot is that corporations will be far more free to spend money on specific candidates running for office; more broadly, you can expect more, and more direct, corporate money flowing into elections.
James Besser talks to a political scientist about the decision, and how it will affect American Jews. His argument, and it sounds valid, is that the influx of direct corporate spending will dilute the power of interest groups—including Jewish ones—that, under the current system, take in money and then spend it where and how they choose. Moreover, the sheer amount of money now likely to come into the system from corporations will minimize the impact of individual donations. Besser paraphrases:
Jews are big political givers, based mostly on the issue of Israel—but that could quickly be dwarfed by the mega-millions corporations are now likely to spend in pursuit of their special interests, starting with profits and limiting government regulation, he said.
Jewish campaign givers aren’t going away and Jewish political clout isn’t in jeopardy. But there’s little question this week’s Supreme Court decision will transform American electoral politics by adding to the campaign finance muscle of the biggest corporations—and diluting the influence of everybody else. And that includes Jewish and pro-Israel givers.
You could go a step further: arguably, those interests whose groups were the most powerful beforehand actually stand the most to lose from the decision. They have a farther distance to fall. Which would, given their current power, be bad for the Jews.
Supreme Court Campaign Finance Decision and Jewish Clout [JW Political Insider]
Justices, 5-4, Reject Corporate Spending Limit [NYT]