In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations and unions have First Amendment rights to political speech. Government cannot prevent them from contributing to campaigns or promoting the election of a candidate.
In 2012 we are seeing the results. "Super PACs" are becoming a dominant force in presidential politics.
Look at the Florida primary. Mitt Romney beat Newt Gingrich in the election, with the help of Restore Our Future, an independent Super PAC that carpet bombed the state with ads attacking Gingrich whenever he seemed to surge in the polls. The PAC has spent $17.4 million in support of Romney, nearly $11 million of that in Florida.
According to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission this week, Restore Our Future is supported by nearly 60 corporations and wealthy individuals who donated checks of $100,000 or more in support of Romney.
The amount of money being budgeted for the 2012 presidential race is mind-numbing. President Barack Obama has raised over $224 million for his re-election and the Democratic Party, nearly four times the amount Romney has raised. The Super Pacs will be closing the gap.
Whether one agrees with the right of corporations and unions to political speech, it is obvious that these massive fundraising organizations have changed the game of politics in America.
Will Rogers once wrote, "Politics has got so expensive that it takes lots of money to even get beat with." He didn't know the half of it.