If you believe money is speech, corporations are people, and the wealthiest 1 percent are a persecuted minority, then you will love the recent Supreme Court decision on campaign finance (McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission) and where it is pointing our political process.
The guiding principle certainly seems to be getting rid of any limits on election spending by mega-donors.
The Supreme Court has whisked away the total limit on how many candidates, affiliated committees and standard PACs an individual can contribute to: While there remains a limit on how much money can be given to any one candidate, committee or PAC, there is no limit on the number of contributions.
Before the decision, an individual donor could only give a total of $123,200 to political candidates and committees during any two-year election cycle. After this month’s Supreme Court decision, a single donor will be able to give $3.6 million in this same two-year election cycle.
That $3.6 million is a drop in the bucket compared to the $100 million that casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson spent in the 2012 cycle. But this week's McCutcheon decision certainly does not roll back the proliferation of money in our election cycles.
The Citizens United decision in 2010 ushered in a new era of "dark money" groups -- nonprofits that can legally unleash unlimited expenditures from anonymous contributors, such as for-profit corporations. These dark money groups spent $256 million in 2012.
All this makes public officials and candidates more beholden to high-dollar donors.
As a former campaign strategist and manager, it's difficult for me to understand what's driving Chief Justice John Roberts and his colleagues to allow so much money into our political process. Campaigns are about reaching people and educating them. While it requires resources, it doesn't (or at least shouldn't) take a billion dollars to win public office.
What is at stake is the basic American principle that, when it comes to elections for public office, we should all have an equal voice -- one person, one vote. But, in campaign contributions, one person's voice is amplified into potentially unlimited votes.
In a free society, there are some infringements on free speech, especially when balancing against competing interests -- like the transparency of democratic elections. Just as free speech does not include the right to shout “fire” in a crowded theater, free speech in most states also does not include the right to give campaign leaflets less than 30 to 100 feet from polling places.
The conservatives who control the Supreme Court just gave rich people a constitutional right to buy influence.
Donna Brazile is a senior Democratic strategist, a political commentator and contributor to CNN and ABC News.