I would like to begin by apologizing to ID readers for a number of typographical mistakes in my June 7 blogging.. Among the mistakes were: leaving out the actual date of the Citizens United decision, January 21, 2010; writing "have even" instead of "be even" in the first paragraph; writing "opposed from the top" instead of "imposed from the top" in the sixth paragraph; misspelling "unthinking" and, at one point, writing "the the", instead of "the". My corrections unfortunately did not reach ID in time to be included in yesterday's issue.
Now to today's topic. According to reports in the Financial Times and the Washington Post, Mitt Romney out - raised Barack Obama in campaign finance money during May by a large amount, $76.8 million to $60 million, and the Obama camp is reportedly in a state of panic. And well it should be. Even if the president were able to come anywhere close to raising the same amount of money as Romney through regular campaign channels, Obama will be enormously outspent by the Republican billionaire super-pacs.
A recent Financial Times article estimated that Romney already has some $300 million in super-pac money, compared to only about $9 million for Obama's super-pac. Other news reports say that the Republican super-pacs are on target to raise a billion dollars for this fall's election. A billion dollars. Just think how many students could go to college, how many people's lives would be saved by needed medical treatment, how many hungry people could have food or homeless could have decent places to live or, even, how many productive new jobs could be created with a billion dollars.
Instead, this money will most likely be used for continuous, relentless attack ads depicting the president as an illegal Muslim immigrant who was born in Kenya, loves terrorists, hates America, democracy and free enterprise, wants to impose socialism on this country, while being responsible for having caused every problem that exists in America today.
With these disparities in campaign money, it will be simply impossible for Obama and the Democrats to rebut these attacks or to remain competitive in this fall's election. Rachel Maddow recently referred to this as "structural", and she is right. What happened in the Wisconsin recall election, where Governor Walker was able to hold onto his office by outspending the Democrats 7 to 1, will be only a prelude to this fall, when Obama may be outspent by a much greater margin.
Therefore, unless Citizens United is suddenly overturned by a deus ex machina coming out of the sky, Romney is the almost inevitable winner this fall. Not only is Romney likely to win the White House, but the Republicans are set to take over the Senate, extend their lead in the House, and win even more state legislatures.
Just as the Republicans will have a huge, permanent advantage in campaign financing, their dream of a permanent Republican majority, i.e. a one party system in America, is now close at hand. In addition to having an enormous money advantage, once the Republicans take over the Justice Department, there will be no further barrier to disenfranchising minority and other Democratic -leaning voters in most, if not all of the states. Then, the Republicans will not even need to spend large amounts of money to win elections in the future. Their opponents will simply not be able to vote.
What kind of America will we see under the permanent Republican billionaires' majority? If one goes by their campaign rhetoric and legislative proposals in Congress and in many states, it will be an America without labor unions, without Social Security, without Medicare, without abortion or contraception rights, without access to decent medical care for all except the very rich, without child labor laws, without a wall of separation between religion and the state, without the right to vote for minorities, the young and the less well off, without equal pay for women, and, of course, without immigration, except perhaps by a small number of wealthy whites.
Because of Citizens United, a very different America from the one all of us have grown up in and have taken for granted, one far more like the 19th century than the 21st, is staring us in the face. Life may be very different for all of us, American citizens and immigrants alike, who are not part of a white, super-rich elite. These comments do not mean that I am insensitive or unsympathetic to those who are protesting against the outrage of Obama's record number of deportations, with all the the inhumanity, cruelty, injustice and cynical opportunism involved. But, because of Citizens United, America, and its immigrants, are now facing something of an entirely different order of magnitude.
Just as rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic would not have stopped the iceberg from hitting, arguing over deportation numbers and related immigration abuses, terrible as they are, is of little value when America may be about to close its borders because of anti-immigrant scapegoating or, though "attrition" policies at the state and federal levels, turn into a country that immigrants will not want to come to in the future.
Roger Algase is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. He has been practicing business immigration law in New York City for more than 20 years.