Newt Gingrich, who was the Speaker of the House during the Clinton era, arguably helped usher in the Tea Party (although they are even further to the right) and today’s era of political vitriol. (He was one of the leaders of the move to impeach Clinton.)
Gingrich coauthored the Contract with America, which originated with ideas from the Heritage Foundation. The Heritage Foundation is one of the proponents of Citizens United, which didn’t exactly open the flood gates to money in politics, but it did turn the spigot up to 11. While the Heritage Foundation hasn’t changed their minds on money in politics (they still love it – the more billionaires and corporations can donate, the better), Gingrich has.
I think it’s very frightening. I don’t think the Founding Fathers intended for the U.S. to be an oligarchy,” Gingrich said during a podcast with Politico.
“You begin to have billionaires who get together, who think that they have somehow got the divine right to tell the country what the country ought to be, which is, I think, dangerous, he added.
Source: Opposing Views
The 2016 election is likely to be a spending smorgasbord, at least for the wealthy. It’s estimated that spending could reach $10 billion and that the two nominees could spend up to $2 billion each. That’s twice as much as 2012.
Most of the money comes through PACs and SuperPACs, which allow near unregulated contributions. Bernie Sanders is the candidate who has vowed not to take PAC money. Hillary Clinton is taking PAC money, but she’s not happy about the campaign finance system. In fact, she’s called for a constitutional amendment to get money out of politics. Sanders, of course, is also calling for campaign finance reform.
As for Republicans who are running for President, only Rand Paul has really addressed it. He wants a clause on federal contracts that would have PAC contributors voluntarily give up their right to lobby. The problem with that, other than the fact that it’s voluntary, is that not all who benefit from the government have government contracts. Many, like the Koch brothers, lobby Congress for lower taxes and for deregulation.
In the meantime, Gingrich is sounding a lot more like Bernie Sanders and yes, Hillary Clinton, than any Republican candidate. Not that his feud with the Clintons is over. He called her “a bad candidate.”
Featured image courtesy of Flickr.