Friday, October 23, 2020
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Citizens United: A Defining Struggle for Our Time

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No one ever said democracy would be easy, especially in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United. In this milestone decision, the U.S. government is prohibited from placing limits on independent spending by corporations and unions for political purposes. With the infusion of countless money into the political process, many opponents of Citizens United have argued that the spirit and the letter or our democracy has been undermined by the wealthiest U.S. citizens and private entities. It's difficult to argue against this viewpoint.

In our democracy, most citizens are informed politically by friends, family, and the news. Excepting for a minority population of "policy entrepreneurs" who actively seek out political information from a variety of information mediums, most friends and family members get their political information from the news media as well. And this is where the problem lies. If most U.S. citizens receive their political information from the news media and the news media is increasingly being flooded with vast amounts of political propaganda stemming from "Super PACs" allowed under the Citizens United decision, how will this shape public opinion and ultimately, our democratic process?