Letter: Just Desserts

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Letter to the Editor

Conservatives should watch out what they wish for. They wanted a Supreme Court that would do away with campaign finance restrictions (check!) and would free super PACs to spend unlimited amounts to support issues that conservatives cared about (check!). They wanted a Supreme Court that would do away with the Roe v Wade legalization of abortion (check!) and would refuse to stop conservative states from implementing voter suppression laws that even the conservative justices admitted would disenfranchise people (check!) They wanted a Supreme Court that would protect the ability of conservative state governments to gerrymander urban communities so as to minimize their representation in state legislatures and in Congress (check!) 

Now, we hear that progressive candidates like Senator Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia) raked in $9.5 million in small-dollar campaign donations over a 90-day period more than a year away from the next election. The structural problem for conservatives is that urban workers are 50 percent more productive than rural workers and, therefore, have more leeway to make small-dollar contributions. Urban voters want to make a difference with their political contributions but gerrymandering has eliminated the possibility that spending those campaign dollars locally will make any difference. Hence, they make their campaign contributions to candidates who champion their values but who are not their political representatives. 

The middle-of-the-night decision by the conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to nullify Roe v Wade by ushering in a completely untested enforcement system of citizen-initiated lawsuits has galvanized many Americans to support out-of-state legislators who promise to restore women’s rights to their own bodies. 

The avalanche of small-donor campaign contributions to progressive candidates in competitive races observed in the last election will only increase. Meanwhile, the extractive industries of mining, drilling and agriculture, which favor conservative candidates, are not keeping pace with the increasing market share going to the service- and knowledge-based industries, which are largely based in metropolitan (blue) areas. Conservative candidates are increasingly at a campaign cash disadvantage. 

With the stunning end of Roe versus Wade galvanizing small-dollar campaign contributions, this lopsided financial advantage enjoyed by progressive candidates will only increase.

William McCarthy