If the Supreme Court Strikes Down Campaign Contribution Limits, It Might Help Kill Off the Tea Party


The Supreme Court will soon hand down its ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a case that could finish up what Citizens United started by striking down virtually all individual limits on campaign contributions to candidates and parties. Rick Hasen suggests there might be a silver lining to a decision that erased existing limits:

If the aggregate donation limits fell, party leaders would regain some advantage. They could start collecting huge checks from donors eager to have more direct influence than is possible when giving to outside groups. Party leaders would then be able to dole that money out to candidates and party committees. They would have more tools to control members scared of, or beholden to, super PACs. Republican leaders could fight back against tea party campaigns.

….Strong political parties have more incentive to cooperate than oppose each other under certain circumstances because they care about their electoral prospects. Look at how Speaker John Boehner pushed through a “clean” debt-limit increase with the help of Democrats in the House and how Senate [Minority] Leader Mitch McConnell voted to break a Sen. Ted Cruz filibuster of this legislation. Party leaders know that it is in their interest to cooperate and keep the government moving so that voters do not abandon them as obstructionist.

I don’t know if I buy this, but I figured I’d pass it along. There’s a good chance the Supreme Court will indeed finish the job of gutting campaign finance limits, and if that happens we’ll all need a bit of solace. This might be the best we can do.

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