Democracy and disgust

Imagine a system that forced you to contribute $100 to the political campaign of the winner of each election. In 2016, you’d be compelled to donate to Trump; in 2008, to Obama; in 2000, to Bush.

You’d probably be offended. You might object to the fact that the program gives money to candidates with views that you find disagreeable. Why should a law force you to give money to Democrats if you’re a Republican and vice versa? In First Amendment terms, you’d say the law improperly discriminates on the basis of viewpoint.

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Forcing people to fill the war chests of political opponents in the name of “democracy”

Guest post by Ethan Blevins. Ethan graduated with a BA in political science from BYU-Idaho and a JD and LLM from Duke School of Law. He was a judicial clerk for Justice Don Willett of the Texas Supreme Court and is currently an attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation. The views expressed in this post are his own.

Few subjects incite ire like campaign finance and the First Amendment. At a Trader Joe’s in Seattle not long ago, I was accosted by an activist seeking signatures for a petition to overturn Citizens United—perhaps the most notorious and misunderstood campaign-finance case of all time. Shoppers gladly signed his petition until he reached me.

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