Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Two GOP Choices: Compare Asa Hutchinson & Donald Trump



Good-nurtured political skill with common sense.
It comes in the person of Asa Hutchinson from the State of Arkansas. He recently announced he is running as a conservative republican candidate. Just today I have watched four news videos interviews of him. They asked all the questions we want to hear answered. I was very impressed by his easy-going and straight-forward answers. He is 72 years old. He is mentally sharp, genuine, and cordial. He has been married to his wife for 50 years. 
Here is Hutchinson’s background: Following his undergraduate degree, he earned a law degree from the University of Arkansas School of Law. He practiced as an attorney for many years in Ft. Smith Arkansas, and he later was appointed the youngest ever US attorney by President Reagan. Subsequently he served as the Drug Enforcement Administration administrator and later as the undersecretary for border and transportation security.
He served two terms in the House of Representatives. He recently completed two terms as Governor of Arkansas (only two terms are allowed). 
In the two weeks I’ve known about Mr. Hutchinson, I’ve been impressed by what I see. Google Asa Hutchinson and look at the several interesting video interviews of him interacting with news men and news women. 
Political analysts say it is most likely Donald Trump will win the Republican nomination for president. His ratings—even after all his highly publicized problems—are much higher than those of Biden and DeSantis. This is startling and worrisome. I've hear no pundits say that DeSantis would beat out Trump for the Republican nomination. 
Very recently, the headlines announced that E. Jean Carroll won her civil lawsuit against Trump for sexual abuse and defamation; she won $5 million in damages. Is this a game changer? I would hope so. Remember, however, that he endured two impeachments without getting convicted; he lost to Biden but disputed his loss by alleging election fraud, inspiring millions of citizen election deniers—all while receiving almost full-fledged and publicly voiced support from most of his fellow republican congressmen and women. Startling and worrisome indeed!

He has been at center stage in America for well over ten years. People love him or hate him. But I don’t want to focus on what people EMOTIONALLY do or don’t like about him. 
Voters need to figure out, not what they feel, but learn which candidate will be capable of the complex task of the Presidency of the United States. And don’t just take someone else’s opinion. Learn for yourself who is most capable of handling the difficult job of being our President. that's what this blog episode is all about.
There are many, many citizens who remain very loyal to him and would vote for Trump again. But increasing numbers of republican Congressmen say Trump should not run for president. They feel he will knock out better candidates and that Trump himself will lose the election.
It is clear, over the past year, that Trump has damaged the Republican Party; one piece of evidence was the unexpected loses in the midterm elections.

So, in view of Trump’s problems as a candidate, the important question is whether Trump’s is too seriously impaired to function as the Chief Executive of the United States!

When I watched all of the 2015 republican primaries and debates, I observed that in countless ways he’s consistently unusual; and in many ways a very worrisome candidate.Three publicly visible behaviors will illustrate:  

First, unlike the other politicians on stage, he often interrupted others and brought negative attention to himself; and he did not yield to the moderators’ requests to comply with ground rules. He never apologized for his glaring rudeness. He had opinions, some extreme, but was unconcerned about providing facts. On the other hand, he often brusquely dismissed or mocked the facts of others. 

Second, he said he was going to build a wall the entire length of the southern border with Mexico and that Mexico would pay for it. He never backed down from this totally absurd statement throughout his presidency.

Third, during the election primaries, he was several times asked whether he would accept the results of the presidential election. He would never answer “yes.” Instead he pivoted into talking about election fraud. He was teasing about a serious topic, just like when he teased that maybe he would or might not release a copy of his past tax records. The release of his tax records was only resolved by involvement of the Supreme Court, and then his records got released.

Years later some other republican candidates, modeling on Trump, would forecast election fraud to set up a false narrative if they lost!
What’s is most important is that Trump often does not play by the rules, it’s his way or the highway, he does not apologize, and he never gives up trying to get what he wants. And all this could be seen in the election primaries. And it continued throughout his presidency.

Only if voters fully know the good and bad about all the candidates can their vote help democracy survive. Anyone listening to news over the last six years should worry a lot about electing an honest and capable politician for president.

Bob Woodward's book, FEAR Trump In The White House is a must read for judging Trump's suitability for the Presidency.

Woodward is one of the most fair-minded and well-respected investigators of the good, bad and ugly of politics. He has written books on all of the last ten U.S. Presidents: Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, Trump and Biden. I have read several of them and have a high opinion of his work. All of his books have been bestsellers.

Woodward gives us an insider’s view of the problems Trump displayed while he was president 2016-2020.

In Woodward’s 2018 book, FEAR Trump In The White House [formatted as on book’s title page] he investigated the day to day functioning in the White House. To produce this book, Woodward operated under rules called “deep background,” which meant he could use in his book anything he saw and heard but would not say who provided the information. Trump did not agree to be interviewed for the book.

Woodward acquired “hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand participants and witnesses” to reveal how things really worked—or didn’t—inside the Trump administration. This would include interactions with most of his cabinet secretaries, such as Secretary of State or Defense, and other important advisers.

In this blog, when I have placed quotations around what someone in Woodward’s book has said or communicated, it means, according to Woodward’s deep background method that: “[T]he information comes from the person, a colleague with direct knowledge or from meeting notes, personal diaries, files and government or personal documents” (Woodward, 2018, Note to Readers).

I have arranged these findings under several headings and most specific findings will have a page number references.

About Trump’s Knowledge of Political Process and World Affairs:
Trump came to the White House surprisingly naïve about the inner workings of government. Most activities have a well-established process involving a sequence of steps and interactions with other people over days, weeks and months. 
But Trump tended towards impatience and had very strong opinions of what he wanted done. The process of normal government seriously annoyed him. When he was informed of the necessary steps, he would often react by interrupting professional staff, telling them he didn’t want to hear about process and how things are supposed to be accomplished in the presidency. He often bluntly dismissed what the professionals were saying as “bullshit.”
For example, Trump was obsessed with a belief that China was hurting American industry; his opinion but was not based on correct economic facts. But he anyway wanted to impose tariffs and undo various trade agreements. His economics adviser, along with other cabinet secretaries, attempted to get Trump to understand the full and actual issues and cooperate with his team’s well informed plans; they provided Trump with materials to read, but Trump would not read them. For example, he kept saying that the World Trade Organization (WTO) was the worst ever and began dismissing all the facts. Trump said it was “bullshit” and wrong. 
The economist adviser said it was all good data and not something to be simply ignored and dismissed (Woodward, 2018, 276-277). 
Trump believed that America’s agreements with South Korea were just a rip-off; on his own initiative he had a letter created withdrawing from our partnership with South Korea; Trump had no knowledge of the massive advantages and strategic value of insuring peace in that area of the world. He never let this issue go. Later on, Senator Lindsey Graham (a friend and supporter) advised Trump not to do anything to disrupt American-South Korean and Japanese treaties and understandings. He told Trump, “I don’t think you should ever start this process [ending South Korean cooperation] unless you’re ready to go to war” (Woodward, 2018, 302). Graham was not exaggerating because he knew how much the economics of South Korea and American forces there stabilized the region.
Quoting from Woodward’s book FEAR: “The president clung to an outdated view of America—locomotives, factories with huge smokestacks, workers busy on assembly lines” (Woodward, 2018, 134-137). But Trump persisted in clinging to his outdated opinions.

About Trump’s Thinking Style and Reactions:
Trump regularly read newspapers and watched Fox News; he often would watch six or more hours of TV per day. He usually arrived at the White House around eleven am (page 299). But he avoided reading and even seriously considering much of what the cabinet secretaries gave him to read to help him appreciate the underlying, vital issues (Woodward, 2018, 299). 
Trump showed little evidence of having ever carefully thought through the important socioeconomic issues. He seemed to think improvisation was his strong point. He tended to be impulsive. “He did not want to be derailed by forethought. As if a plan would take away his power, his sixth sense” (Woodward, 2018, 231).
Unfortunately, Trump’s improvisation, impulsivity, and unfiltered public speech created ongoing and serious problems. There were times when his apologies exacerbated things dramatically. On pages 238-252 of Woodward’s book is the story of Trump’s counterproductive comments about the Charlottesville, Virginia riot. Trump’s staff gave him a speech to read but he spontaneously added in a few of his own comments which brought him an explosion of condemnation from congressmen, industry, the financial sector, and resignations from various boards of trustees. 
Trump was obsessed with the idea that our so-called allies, using our economic and defense agreements and treaties, were ripping off America. These included NATO, NAFTA, WTO and others. The cabinet secretaries discovered that Trump did not comprehend the benefits of these agreements—and did not want to make an effort understand them. His attitude and determination was to renegotiate or end them—even unilaterally. Woodward’s book gives a fascinating and detailed picture of how Gary Cohn (National Economic Council Chairman), Staff Secretary Rob Porter and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis worked together to prevent “[S]ome of Trump’s most dangerous impulses” (pictures item 13).

About Trump’s Ability To Work Effectively With His Staff:
Among Trump’s cabinet secretaries were three generals and his Secretary of State was Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil. Additionally, to advise Trump on military matters was General Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Jeff Sessions, Attorney General, was one of the best, and Steve Bannon’s opinion was that “Trump would never get a better guy confirmed by the Senate” (Woodward, 2018, 299). So Trump had top notch people working for him.
But he was often verbally abusive to them, quick to belittle them, quick to attack them if they disagreed with him. For example, after AG Sessions very appropriately recused himself as Trump’s defender in the Justice Department’s investigation of Trump, Trump referred to Sessions as: “idiot,” “traitor,” and “mentally retarded” (Woodward, 2018, 216). 
Reince Priebus was Trump’s first Chief Of Staff. Priebus was an attorney who was highly capable and knowledgeable of political process, elections, and government. He tried to steer Trump toward effective presidential behavior but resigned after serving for less than a year. Priebus observed that the Trump White House “[D]id not have a team of rivals but a team of predators.” Priebus was loyal to Trump and, had Trump taken his advice, Trump would have had fewer staff problems; however, Priebus couldn’t stand any more chaos and stress and left in less than a year (Woodward, 2018, pictures item 8). 
Trump’s use of Twitter created a wide range of problems: hurtful, public displays of personal staff issues, grossly inappropriate methods of communicating with colleagues and heads state. 
According to Woodward’s inside information, Gary Cohn along with Rob Porter and Jim Mattis collaborated to “[C]urb some of Trump’s most dangerous impulses.” Cohn reportedly said, “It’s not what we did for the country. It’s what we saved him from doing” (Woodward;, 2018, pictures item 13). 

Further Examples, Analysis and Summary:
1. Knowledge of government processes: 
Trump was ignorant of even the basics of our government process and didn’t want to learn more. His knowledge of economics and the big picture of interacting nations was out of date by many decades. When his staff attempted to bring him up to date, he was uninterested. He often interrupted his experts to label their views as “bullshit.” 
Trump clawed his way into office and exploited it for his own benefits but he was he was unable to govern even himself, and he was well known to be good at shooting himself in the foot. 
2. Thinking and processing skills:
Trump was impulsive. He was impatient and resistant to attempts to explain the complexities of international affairs. He had difficulty sustaining focus on the immediate, relevant concerns while at the same time setting aside other matters so he could successfully collaborate with his advisers. 
Moreover, it was hard for him to keep his emotions under control to be able to mentally step back from topics to view them calmly and objectively. For example, he clung to his outdated ideas about tariffs and would not focus on the hard core data from his principle economic adviser Gary Cohn. Trump persisted in wanting to try tariffs experimentally. Finally, Cohn said to Trump, “Mr. President, that’s not what you do with the U.S. Economy” (Woodward, 2018, 274). 
In the book FEAR Trump in the White House, Trump is portrayed, in the words of many of his most important advisers, as vain and immature. Steve Bannon who had once been a big supporter of Trump, eventually became very critical of him and resigned. Bannon came to think of Trump as, “[V]ery much like a 14-year-old boy who felt he was being picked on unfairly. You couldn’t talk to him in adult logic. Teenage logic was necessary” (Woodward, 2018, 299). This, of course, often led to his proposing naïve and preposterous solutions. 
3. Capacity to Work with others:
Many staff were surprised at Trump’s enjoyment of the chaos in his administration.
Trump wanted 100% loyalty from others. This is illustrated by conversations he had with a senator who was actually very helpful and devoted to Trump. Trump told the senator “I want you to be 100% for Trump” (Woodward, 2018, 317). That senator refused Trump’s demand.
In a similar manner, Trump boldly asked FBI director James Comey to give his assurance he would be “loyal” to him. The FBI is part of the Department of Justice, which diligently stays independent from outside influences. It is fairly clear that Trump wanted assurances of Comey’s loyalty because he wanted Comey to exert inappropriate influence. Trump in the first week of his presidency said to Comey, “I need loyalty. I expect loyalty.” Comey explained to Trump that he was loyal to the Constitution, not to any one person. Subsequently, Trump said to Comey, “I hope you can see your way to letting this go, to letting Flynn go. He’s a good guy. I hope you can let this go” (Comey, 2018, page 254-267). General Michael Flynn was in trouble for lying to the FBI about talking with the Russian ambassador. Trump’s opinion of the matter was that Flynn had done nothing wrong. Trump at end of his term pardoned Flynn.
Soon, Trump realized he could not manipulate Comey. Trump punished Comey by firing him in the cruelest possible manner to embarrass him; but that was not enough for Trump; Trump made false allegations about Comey. As noted above, Trump crudely insulted his own Attorney General, Jess Sessions for recusing himself from a Justice Department investigation of Trump. It is noteworthy that Sessions consulted with and was following the recommendations of the Justice Department ethics officials. https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/top-gop-lawmaker-calls-on-sessions-to-recuse-himself-from-russia-investigation/2017/03/02/148c07ac-ff46-11e6-8ebe-6e0dbe4f2bca_story.html
Based on multiple sources, it seems evident Trump wanted the loyalty in his subordinates to be strong enough so they would violate their moral standards to comply with Trump’s unethical influence strategies. Trump has always been a very strong- nurtured man, intent on getting what he wants. He has shown by his lying, manipulation and punishment of others the types of character faults which can be expected to lead to failing relationships, chaos and confusion.

Trump has twice been impeached but was let off the hook by the Senate’s republican majority. However, his misdeeds are catching up to him and his legal problems have been escalating at both the State and Federal level. 
Trump’s 30,573 lies while president, documented by the Washington Post, are a shout out display of a serious morality probable; and they certainly contributed to the chaos, pain, and suffering he delivered to all who attempted to work with him. See the documentation and find out more at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veracity_of_statements_by_Donald_Trump

Since Trump’s election to the presidency, his character faults have steadily escalated to produce ever more outlandish and dangerous spectacles. It is not a political skill to co-opt a big majority of republican congressmen to publicly endorse nonexistent election fraud in the 2020 election, seeking to overturn a fraud-free election—as determined by recounts and by State and Federal Court decisions. To this day, Trump has neither admitted nor apologized for HIS election fraud about AMERICA’S LEGITIMATE ELECTION.
Even out of office Trump has been working to disrupt our democracy by propaganda that he won over Biden in 2020. And now he wants to run for a second term as president. 
District Judge Tanya Chutkan ruled in 2021 that Trump was not a “King.” From Newsweek:
"[Trump] does not acknowledge the deference owed to the incumbent President's judgment," Chutkan wrote. "His position that he may override the express will of the executive branch appears to be premised on the notion that his executive power 'exists in perpetuity.' But Presidents are not kings, and Plaintiff is not President." https://www.newsweek.com/benefit-republic-not-any-individual-judge-says-trump-cant-claim-executive-privilege-1647764

NOTE: References for this blog episode can be found on the powertomyvotesl.com  reference page.
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Saturday, April 29, 2023

Getting A New Blog Ready To Roll Out


I'm two days into learning  the Blogger interface and I am pleasantly surprised at what it offers.

What prompted my creating a new blog was the need for google analytics to function reliably--which it could not do on my old bogging interface.

I have been blogging about citizens coping with the sorry state of politics for the past year and a half. On my other blog I have 37 episodes on a wide range of vital topics of deep interest to average citizens. At any given time, about one third of politicians of both parties are busily pursuing strategies to goals we would not approve of. 

During this time I've been massively upgrading my understanding of American politics; and I'm more committed than ever to blog with the goal of  getting citizen voters more in control of what their politicians are doing.

What I have learned in depth--largely from books by political experts--is the stunning lack of influence of America's voters. Our government, our politicians, and our 168 million registered voters (2020) function more like an ignorant mob on a witch hunt than like average, sensible adults. 

I achieved my modest goals set for my first blog. I have more ambitious goals for this blog--along with the available time and energy to reach them.

--Ronald Massey

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

SCOTUS + Citizens United = A Very Bad Decision


Professor of Law Erwin Chemerinsky is a distinguished expert on First Amendment Law at the University of California. He and other experts in law and politics say that Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is “one of the worst decisions in recent times” (Chemerinsky, 2014, page 264).

Citizens v. Federal Election Committee (FEC) and led to massive increases in campaign spending that can degrade the influence of citizens upon government.
I have found the 1023 pages of these three books to be essential for exposing and explaining the long, often ugly, and complicated history behind Citizens United.
237 pages of The Campaign Finance Cases: Buckley, McConnell, Citizens United, and McCutcheon by Melvin I. Urofsky
469 pages of We The Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights by Adam Winkler
317 pages of Our Damaged Democracy: We The People Must Act by Joseph A. Califano, Jr.

This is my second blog on Citizens United, and it reveals the political forces over 200+ years which produced that sorry Supreme Court result.
There are five categories of problematic influences highlighted in ALL CAPS below.

Money is a means to an end—any kind of end you can imagine. It’s countable, and in government most money can be traced as it goes from one place to another, pushing and shoving the “insight” and critical decisions.
In today’s world, MONEY is not a physical object like the precious metals gold and silver; those are old fashioned versions of what are now correctly labeled mediums of exchange. The American dollar is the world’s most reliable medium of exchange—whether in a hundred dollar bill or in a bank account as a digital number. 
INFLUENCE over other people is primarily not a physical object. All of the following are types and/or causes of influence:
The role of a principal, teacher, or coach over a student
A child has influence over a parent because they are inherently wonderful and precious.
A boss has influence over his employees because he can hire and fire.
Spouses have influence over their partner spouse because of what they can give to the other—and, of course, what they can withhold from the other.
Voting for a politician is a form of usually anonymous influence. But giving money, even a small amount of $50, results in a politician’s acquiring your contact information and they definitely will solicit more contributions.
Like you and me, politicians have jobs. They represent us and are supposed to both listen to us and run the government. Like you and me, they usually want to keep their jobs until they get a better one. Members of the House earn $174,000 per year and Senators $193,000 per year (these are 2021 figures). 
All Representatives face reelection every two years and Senators ever six years. It takes lots and lots of money to insure one gets re-elected. The president, representatives and senators work hard to get the most campaign contributions they possibly can. 
Most members of Congress spend as much as half their time raising money for their re-elections; and congressmen are spending less time focused on legislation (Califano, 2018, 55-61 ). Interestingly, the more prominent the politician the more money he is expected to raise, not just for himself, but for helping other politicians and their political party apparatus. In the two years after Paul Ryan became Speaker of the House (the preeminent position of power) he traveled the country widely and raised sixty million dollars for the National Republican Congressional Committee (Califano, 2018, page 54). 
Melvin Urofsky in The Campaign Finances Cases wrote, “It is true, of course, that politicians of all stripes, and especially conservatives, have never wanted anything to get between them and the money they need to run for reelection.” And he also wrote, that regardless of the attempts at campaign finance reform, “In every instance, even without court intervention, politicians and donors managed to get together. As Justice Sandra Day O’Connor put it in McConnell, “Money like water, will always find an outlet” (Urofsky, 2020).

Every American president has necessarily had the steady ambition and political skill to promote his agenda as better than that of his opponent. Such promotion requires pretending to be fair minded and respectful but most of the time attacking, undermining, and sarcastically minimizing the worth of the opponent’s program. All attacks are full of intentional misunderstandings, simple minded ideas, and often outright lies. 
I have not read about any president who has actively supported campaign finance reform. Clinton flirted with the idea but it was not a priority on which he took action. President Nixon signed the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) into law in 1972 but it wasn’t out of integrity (he was the most criminal of modern presidents) and avoided impeachment because his own Republican Party demanded he resign, which he did).
George W. Bush did sign into law the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA) in 2002. He was noticeably non committal about it, however.
The most important contribution any president can make to election finance reform is in appointing open minded Supreme Court justices whose constitutional leanings are not conservative. Until about 2021, the last year of the Bill Clinton administration, the American Bar Association provided names of worthy candidates for Supreme Court justices. But then, according to Thom Hartmann, “[A] small group of petrobillionaires and their friends, helped fund the Federalist Society, which reached out to law students; found the most reliably conservative among them; and groomed them for future positions on federal courts, including the Supreme Court itself” (Hartmann, 2019, 156-157). 
According to Hartmann, George W. Bush and especially Donald Trump favored the very conservative recommendations of the Federalist Society. George Bush’s nominees (John Roberts as Chief Justice and Samuel Alito) were all reliably conservative and were confirmed by the Senate. Donald Trump nominated three conservative justices, all of whom were confirmed by the Senate (Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett.)

Corporations are very important for understanding Citizens United v. FEC. They key, the full story can be found in Adam Winkler’s important book, We the Corporations: How American Businesses Won Their Civil Rights. Winkler wrote, “[Chief Justice] Marshall was saying that corporations were too ethereal to be the basis for constitutional rights and that, instead the court should focus on the corporation’s members” and that a corporation was “certainly not a citizen” (Winkler, 2018, page 65-66). Blackstone, the famous British legal scholar in 1758 described the corporation as an “artificial person” who “had a separate legal identity and certain rights, including property, contract, and access to court” (as found in Winkler, 2018, 399-400). 
Corporations are a legal business arrangement designed to make the business a separate thing from its owners. It is formally called a “legal entity.” The detailed arrangements go in a legal document called a charter. A simple, but important illustration, is given below.
1. Before corporations were invented a Mom and Pop bakery would legally cease to exist as a business when the owners died. A corporation solves that problem.
An incorporated business continues on even if owners are incapacitated or die. When it’s created, as “The Mom & Pop Bakery,” it’s corporation’s value is divided into stocks, which can be bought and sold by other investors. The stock exists independently of Mom and Pop. When they spent $100,000 creating their bakery, they divided that hundred thousand investment into 10,000 shares. Then, to raise more operating cash, they could create and sell some more shares. 
2. And if Mom and Pop were ever sued, they would be personally paying to defend themselves and would be liable to pay for any money judgment of the court.
Incorporating solves that problem because by law, “The Mom & Pop Bakery” has limited liability. Those who sue a corporation cannot get to Mom and Pop’s personal assets or to the personal assets of other stockholders. The corporation but not Mom and Pop and the shareholders can’t be sued. The corporation defends itself using money owned by the corporation and kept in its treasury.
3. “The Mom & Pop Bakery” is a separate legal entity with an official name. Because of this, it can do business in its own name, get into binding contracts, sue and be sued, and it pays taxes. If Mom and Pop decided to expand their business, “The Mom & Pop Bakery,” because of incorporation, could take out a loan in its own name.
Winkler’s startling research findings convincingly show that since the 1880s corporations and their promoters have been systematically and successfully influencing presidents, Congress, and the courts to acquire increasing civil and liberty rights. Even acquiring religious freedoms and exemptions via the Religious Freedom and Restoration Act (RFRA).

They have colluded in failing to make any successful campaign finance reforms; and when there is a new law, it has been stripped of most enforcement mechanisms. However, to be fair, there seems to be improved tracking of the money flows.
The origins of campaign finance reform arise from one or more of:
Democratic or Republican president leading his Party or
House of Representatives or Senate
In the early 1970s and early 2002 there was reform legislation passed: the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). As soon as these acts were passed they were challenged in the courts and successful efforts were made to reduce their impacts. A dearth of stability to the laws! Important parts of the laws have been “gutted” by Congressional action or overturned by the Supreme Court. 
Urofsky wrote that, “Finally, the federal and state laws aimed at regulating campaign finance all added up to nothing more than an exercise in futility. Although some of the more blatant and corrupt practices had been eliminated or at least marginalized, no mechanism existed to enforce the laws, nor, if truth be told, did government officials really want to do so. Both the Democrats and Republicans wanted and needed money to run their campaigns” (Urofsky, 2020).

The SCOTUS justices have the job of authoritatively stating what the law is, and in some cases they say what can’t be the law because it violates the Constitution. The cases which rise up through the Federal appellate courts and which get accepted for SCOTUS to decide—these cases have unique problems and high importance. They can’t be settled anywhere else. 
The Citizens United v. FEC case was something of a mess at the Federal district court level. The issues were so complex and with so many incompatible components that the three District Court justices gave not one opinion but three! they tried very hard as shown by their very, very lengthy opinions. 
In several points in his in depth study of campaign finance reform, Urofsky finds the Supreme Court to have a “lack of rigorous analysis” and “inconsistencies” (Urofsky, 2020,pages 44-45).
Urofsky: “[M]ost people agreed that the 1974 Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) had been a dismal failure. Although providing better reporting of the dollars raised and spent, FECA had imposed no real control on campaign finance. If everyone accepted the fact of a broken system, little agreement could be found on how to fix it. Moreover, even if the system were in fact broken, that did not mean that everybody wanted it repaired “(Urofsky, 2020, page 65). Urofsky goes on to comment (page 72) that, “This ought not to be seen as a contest over who abused the system more, Democrats or Republican, because they both acted in gross disregard of the law.”

Superficially, the well-written prose of the Citizens United v. FEC opinion gives a first impression that the majority opinion and the dissent are both substantially correct! But that can’t be right, and it isn’t! 
The writing of the majority and of the dissenters seems to make good sense, but when put side by side, it doesn’t match up at all.
The fundamental goals and methods of campaign finance reform are themselves in conflict. That conflict has spawned many 5-4 decisions to which are attached multiple concurring opinions-in-part and multiple dissents. Some of the campaign finance cases have come to SCOTUS in sets of opinions from judges who could not produce any majority opinion. 
My opinion is that the Supreme Court hasn’t helped the campaign finance problems. Congress has so far failed at it. And the presidents don’t personally care because they usually have no problem fundraising.
Personally, I conclude that,ultimately, progress must come from Congress. Congress has the power to take away from SCOTUS the authority to act by utilizing the procedure of court stripping; Congress could divest SCOTUS of jurisdiction on the issue of campaign finance reform. John Roberts [prior to becoming Chief Justice] researched this for Reagan’s attorney general Ken Starr (Hartmann, 2019, pages 148-153).
Ideally, though, the three branches of government should have more loyalty to the American people than to just their own branch of government. And, they should have more loyalty to “We The People” than to “We The Corporations."
For references, see the relevant page on the powertomyvotes.com website.  
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America's 2024 Republican Party Disaster

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