Here we go folks. With the political fates that have been sealed due to the historic passage of Healthcare reform, this November’s mid-term election cycle is now having they key turned and the engine is slowly starting to turn over into first gear. Why is it going to suck so much? Well, besides the normal barrage of television, radio, print, bus stop, and picket-sign ads that we’ve all come to know and love, the robo-calls and people knocking on your door asking for your support, and this great political climate we’re now entering into the second stage of, a few Supreme Court rulings and recent media trends are sure to damn us all to political hell from now until election time.
First the small point. I keep my television off for many good reasons, rarely turning it to C-SPAN when something really neat is happening like Congress passing Healthcare Reform, but if you need even more reasons to hate your digital set, especially in an election year, you have to look no further than Carly Florina. She is running for the Senate in California and if you haven’t already heard her name you’d surely recognize her campaign from their crazy ridiculous Demon Sheep TV ad. It’s a retarded ad to begin with, but even more so the people behind its production, Fred Davis III of Strategic Perception Inc., understand that in today’s viral video-obsessed internet world the more bizarre and weird the videos you produce are, the more people will talk about how their weird and bizarre your videos are and the person(s) attached to that video, thereby getting people to talk about the person the ad campaign is promoting.
What’s that mean for the American TV watching audience? For one it means you’ll probably be talking to your friends a lot this summer and fall about all the utterly stupid, nightmare inducing, repugnant, fact-less, commercial hallucinations you were seeing on television every day until you decided to put a shotgun to the screen so you could end the madness. Already the Florina campaign has a new epic 10-minute spot where they depict Senator Barbara Boxer’s head as a floating doom zeppelin of bitch coasting through the cities and green valleys of California (presumably where the Demon Sheep graze) to find her next meal in the form of a newborn Republican baby. Maybe this weird political campaign Florina is running is just a product of us wacky Californians and the chemicals in our drinking water, but what if every candidate with as much money as Florina talked to Fred Davis III and asked to get an equally batshit retarded TV campaign going? This balloon ad will not be the weirdest part of a political campaign we see this year, mark my words.
But on to my second and much graver point. With the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Committee it was established that corporations can use as much money as they please to fund political campaigns and candidates for elected office. When a business incorporates and becomes a “corporation” they become legally recognized as a “business entity” instead of a company owned by a bunch of people. This incorporation protects the individuals who run the company if someone happens to sue them, the lawsuit is instead directed to this incorporated “person” and the money derived from the lawsuit comes out of the “pockets” of the corporate “person”, the income and revenue of the business not the business owners.
This idea of corporate personhood has now been stretched so far that under the Citizens United ruling the “corporation” is now basically considered to have all the same rights as an average living breathing American citizen, including the right to throw their money around in any direction they choose, and as much money as they choose. In short this means that big business will now be directly influencing politicians and their campaigns to an even more exponential degree than they were before. Rulings like this will make damn sure that Carly Florina, an ex-CEO from a variety of big tech companies, will definitely have the funds to keep making her epic multi-million dollar feature-length campaign ads. A victory for political theater!
Today the first post-Citizens United corporate funded political campaign ad appeared in newspapers across Texas:
Some Republican for State Representative, sponsored by KDR Development Inc. I can’t find the website for KDR, I don’t know what kind of business they are in, but according to this article on The Economist the president of KDR had run against incumbent Chuck Hopson in a previous election. The ad doesn’t even say “vote for this guy we support him”. It simply says “vote for one of these Republicans over this guy in office cause the guy who runs the company who bought this ad lost out to him in a previous election”. I can only imagine how much more fun this ad game will get.
On a related note, through their interpretation of the Supreme Court ruling, the corporation Murray-Hill Inc. has decided that due to their new found corporate personhood their choosing to back the living, breathing, political figure known as Murray-Hill Inc. Murray-Hill Inc. is running for office in Maryland and part of me really hopes that Murray-Hill Inc. will win the race and be able to enact all that political legislation that Murray-Hill Inc. has worked so hard to get across during his (its?) political career. And just so you know, Murray-Hill Inc. is running for exactly the same reasons you might expect Murray-Hill Inc. to run for public office. Let the mockery that is our brave new corporate-funded political world commence!