Grasping at Straws, Ed Schultz Blames Citizens United Ruling for Trump's Popularity

As Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS) gradually fades among liberals after its decade-long stint atop their stack of pathologies, a newly diagnosed condition known as Completely Unhinged over Citizens United (CUCU) is supplanting it.

Even though BDS is unlikely to wholly depart from the liberal psyche, which appears to draw sustenance from its presence despite the obvious toll on left-wingers' health, eruptions of the new malady still occur with alarming frequency. 

Former MSNBC pundit and ex-radio host Ed Schultz appears unusually susceptible to the lamentable new condition which doctors began diagnosing within minutes of the Supreme Court announcing its decision in Citizens United v. FEC nearly six years ago.

This past Monday, Schultz appeared on Alan Colmes' radio show and wasted little time trying to connect the Citizens United ruling with Donald Trump's enduring popularity among the GOP electorate -- 

COLMES: Is there any Republican you could see would make a good president who's running right now?

SCHULTZ: Well, let's start with the dynamic of what's unfolding here. I went to Trump's Fifth Avenue announcement last summer and when he made the comment about Mexicans, I turned to one of my producers at the time, I said he just won the middle of the country.

COLMES: Really? So you didn't think what other people thought that ...

SCHULTZ: I've said, you can go back and look at my commentaries when I was on the cable, he's in it for the long haul. He's the perfect Citizens United candidate. He can do whatever he wants. He's not beholden to anybody. He has tapped into something that is the big umbrella of political correctness. He can go out and say whatever he wants to say. It's not only what he says, it's how he says it. It's his bravado, it's his arrogance the people are gravitating to. And I just don't, I disagree with the President that he's tapping into white angry. It's just not white, angry working guys. I think there's a cross section of white people in this country across all demographics that are sick of political correctness and he is now their champion.

Hard to believe we've reached the point that when a candidate "can go out and say whatever he wants to say," it's considered unusual.

Schultz gets it right about Trump's appeal stemming largely from his unequivocal rejection of political correctness. But Schultz could hardly be more wrong when he refers to Trump as "the perfect Citizens United candidate." which he casually tosses out without elaborating as to how the ruling helps Trump's campaign.

Apparently this is becoming a talking point for Schultz as he also mentioned it during his Dec. 11 podcast and went into slightly more detail -- 

This is really a very unusual position for the Republicans to be in. They didn't anticipate any of this. They didn't think that all of the negative comments that they have made about President Obama and all the obstruction and all the filibusters and everything that they have, the hate merchant type style of politicking that they've done over the last six and a half, seven years was never going to come back and bite 'em. It has in a big, big way and so has Citizens United because now they have a candidate who has the wherewithal to do whatever he wants to do and they don't know how to handle it.

Just as Ross Perot had the "wherewithal to do whatever he wanted to do" -- and did, back in the 1992 campaign when he spent $63 million of his own money to draw nearly 20 percent of the vote but not a single state while swinging the election to Bill Clinton.

Just as Steve Forbes possessed comparable wherewithal four years later ($38 million) in a losing bid for the GOP nomination.

Or how about Democrat Jon Corzine spending $63 million of his own money to win a Senate seat in New Jersey in 2000? (followed by Corzine spending another $43 million to get elected governor in the Garden State in 2005). Along the same lines, Mitt Romney spent $35 million from his personal fortune heading into the 2008 GOP primaries before losing to eventual nominee John McCain.

Schultz erroneously believes that Citizens United allows wealthy candidates to self-fund their campaigns without limit -- but this has been the law since the high court's 1976 ruling in Buckley v. Valeo. Decades later, Citizens United allowed unlimited funding from corporations -- and labor unions, though liberals rarely mention that -- to non-profit political advocacy groups and super PACs, not to candidates or specific campaigns.

What makes Schultz's claim all the more laughable is that the very wealthy Trump has spend little of his wealth -- a comparatively paltry $2 million, based on the most recent campaign disclosures -- while remaining at the front of the GOP pack for the entirety of his six-month long campaign. Moreover, Trump has told super PACs supporting him to stop using his likeness and slogans and return contributions they've received -- the exact opposite of what one would expect of the "perfect Citizens United candidate."

Another GOP candidate who should be helped by Citizens United, if criticism of it from the left has any validity, is Jeb Bush. Despite more than $100 million in outside funding from his supporters, Bush still languishes in low single-digit polling.

And let's not forget the example of early GOP front runner Scott Walker, whose deep-pocketed supporters included those dastardly billionaire Koch brothers who liberals believe can buy any election they want. Except that of Walker, whose campaign lasted little more than two months.

Or how about billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson donating $20 million to a super PAC backing Newt Gingrich in the 2012 campaign? Gingrich won all of two GOP primaries that year before dropping out.

Schultz's criticism aside, liberals appear far more taciturn about Citizens United this time around because the campaigns of Walker -- and Bush -- and Trump -- have effectively demolished their claims about it. Not to worry, though -- if Democrats lose the presidency next November, left wingers will assuredly place Citizens United high on the list of reasons why, all evidence to the contrary. 

 

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