This Election’s 4 Biggest Populist Victories You Might Have Missed
No matter which side you butter your political bread, by now you’ve heard more that you ever wanted to about the election results and who won.
But that’s just politics.
What you probably missed in the glare of the pundits flashy graphics and the incessant Wednesday morning quarterbacking were the real victories by and for people actuall y asserting their rights on Election Day against the powers that be . Yes, regardless of political affiliation;against the endlessly deep pockets and scare tactics of huge corporations; AND against the mighty robed ones of the Supreme Court— they prevailed. Big time. And they may have set the stage for the rest of the country to follow suit.
What does Susan B. Anthony have in common with voters in Montana, Ohio and Pennsylvania?
If Susan B. Anthony was afraid (and surely she was), she did not let her fear of being sued, ridiculed, harassed, beaten and jailed stop her from standing up for her rights. And while voters in these states didn’t risk their personal security, on Election day, they took a stand for their rights, and they acted is if government belonged to us. Rights—as in, unalienable self-evident rights that come by virtue of being born, that cannot be given or granted, taken away or surrendered.
In the Big Sky state of Montana, where the Governor is a Democrat, but the electorate runs fire engine-red, you may have heard that the state voted to urge or direct Congress to enact a Constitutional Amendment to overturn corporate personhood, as did Colorado. But the real story is so much richer than that.
Many states—not only Montana— wrote their Constitutions to include the subordination of corporations to the will of the people, and banned corporate political expenditures in state elections. Over the years, most of those Constitutional provisions have been amended to pave the way for more corporate-friendly laws—but not in Montana. In early January 2012, Montana’s state supreme court, in recognition of the rights of residents to determine the outcome of their elections, struck a defiant blow to the heart of the Super-PAC-creating-unlimited-corporate-elections-spending SCOTUS Citizens United decision, by restoring their state ban on corporate elections spending.
The federal court was quick to respond to this challenge of their supremacy by reaffirming Citizens United and striking down Montana’s Constitutional provision. And with the flick of a pen, five of the Robed Nine denied the 1 million residents of Montana their right to decide the proper role for corporations in local and state elections (take THAT democracy).
Montanans seemed to take this news personally, as a subordination of their very real authority to govern corporate entities, and on Election day, reminded the learned SCOTUS who is boss in Big Sky country. By a landslide of 75% Montanans restored their rights on Election Day and sent corporations and the Supreme Court a powerful message. Initiative 166, officially called the Prohibition on Corporate Contributions and Expenditures in Montana Elections Act, was endorsed by the Governor (D), the Lt. Governor (R) and the former Secretary of State (R).
As C.B. Pearson, treasurer for the I-166 group, Stand with Montanans put it, “For nearly a century, Montana had elections free of corporate money. But now our fair elections system is compromised. With this vote, Montanans have provided much needed leadership on this important issue, much as we did 100 years ago with the passage of the Corrupt Practices Act.”
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