In a five-to-four decision this morning, the Supreme Court ruled that corporations may spend unlimited money on campaign ads supporting or opposing political candidates. Overturning a twenty-year ruling, the court’s decision will have monumental effects on the current climate of political campaigning and the 2010 elections. Most Republicans welcome the decision, as they see opportunity to cash in on their support for the country’s large corporations. Democrats are slightly more wary, although the decision will likely provide the same rules for labor unions, a core base of Democratic support.
Yet third parties - the Libertarian Party in particular - have the most reason to celebrate. For years the Libertarian party has been appealing the case to the high court arguing that provisions of the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law, part of which was overturned in this morning’s ruling, limited free speech, offered unfair protection to incumbents, and financially crippled any outside opposition. Following this decision, which takes effect immediately, Libertarian candidates will finally be able enlist the financial support of small and large businesses across nation.
The effects of this decision are both timely and decisive for the Libertarian Party. As the growing anti-government sentiment extends further and further across the country, Libertarian ideology has begun to win the hearts and minds of many Americans on both sides of the political spectrum. Up until now, the biggest road block for the party has been the inability to come up with the kind of funding of the two major parties. Now that corporations are free to spend their capital on candidates who they support, that road block may very well have been passed.
Clearly the GOP stands to gain the most support from this decision. As a major party that has begun to show electoral victories resulting from its opposition to government expansion, Republican candidates will be the favorites for corporations looking to vote with their treasuries. Yet in areas where candidates in both the major parties argue for further government regulation and higher taxes on businesses, or areas where the ideas of limited government extend past the socially conservative ideology of the Republican Party, Libertarian candidates will have landed at a crucial nexus of grass roots support and large scale financing. With effective organization and strong candidates, the Libertarian Party may now be closer to electoral victory than ever.