Definition of Sovereignty Created by The United States Government

Itself on was that it was a state that would be independent and wouldn’t have any obligation to any other external state such as Great Britain. While drafting the Constitution, the idea of popular sovereignty was also adopted because it made it so that the government would serve the people and derive their power through the consent of those they governed. To be a sovereign nation that rests upon the idea of popular sovereignty, the people need to have the complete authority to decide their fate and their country’s fate, but “having… [an interference] with the choice of the people of their governance in a democracy is to risk a particular type of perversion”.

Unfortunately, dark money is just that interference that the American people are facing within their political democracy. Dark money is any election funding money from groups that do not have to disclose their donors. Although Individual donors and Political Action Committees have a cap as to how much they can donate to candidates, Super PACS and nonprofits are considered independent and can raise an unlimited amount of money as long as they do not coordinate with the candidate directly.

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The difference between Super PACS and nonprofit organizations is that in Super PACS, the identity of the donor must be shared, whereas in nonprofits the identity of the donors do not have to be disclosed.

However, Super PACS can become dark money groups when they receive contributions from nonprofits, who did not have to identify their donors and are therefore also protected from being identified in a Super PAC.

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In this way, nonprofits and Super PACS serve as the perfect floodgate for wealthy groups who want to influence politics from behind the curtain. Campaign financing plays a big role in every political campaign. Politicians need donations to help fund commercials, billboards, mail ins, and rallies. The more money that is being invested in a politician, the more campaigning and exposure the politician is securing. Essentially how dark money works is that very wealthy unknown entity (usually corporations), donate millions of dollars to a nonprofits that sponsor the candidate they want to win, without having the public be aware of who these people are and how to respond to the advertisements that are being funded by these unknown groups.

A study showed that “in the 2012 campaign more than $300 million in dark money was spent by nonprofits directly aimed at political campaigns”(Dimmery). This system essentially allows the country to have a large mysterious pool of money, that is untraceable, to in The thought of untraceable money is already frightening enough, but the fact that these type of sums can be raised unlimitedly is truly a threat to the democracy. Our elections used to have limits as to how much independent organizations could donate, however in 2010 in Citizens United vs FEC, the Supreme Court ruled that laws that prevented corporations and unions from using their funds for political advertising violated the First Amendment’s guarantee.

There were 24 states that restricted corporate spending before Citizens United and after the ruling many states tried to fight it, especially Montana, a state that had a placed Corrupt Practices Act back in 1912 after having to deal with corruption and corporation domination. After the Supreme Court ruled that all states needed to strike down any laws that placed bans on corporate spending in the Citizens United ruling in 2010, the amount of dark money that was being funneled in by nonprofits into elections jumped drastically. A study found that “in the 2008 cycle nonprofit spending jumped to more than $70 million, and then to almost $300 million in 2012” (Dimmery). Money donated by the various non profit organizations has especially been used to fund issue advocacy ads because they avoid mentioning a candidate, but at the same time provide perspective for a specific issue that one candidate clearly favors over another.

For example, an ad that talks about how much financial damage would come out of raising taxes clearly favors the candidate that believes in lowering taxes without actually having to mention the candidate’s name. However, before trying to understand how political advertisements work, one must first understand why advertisements continue to flourish in society. Before there was a market of goods for people, much of society was just trying to live off of the scarcity of goods and materials surrounding them. As society found ways to meet their physiological basic needs, eventually society felt comfortable enough to invest time and energy into luxury goods. By the 1800s, advertising was used to spread news about good and services that people may want to have out of convenience. Newspapers began broadcasting names of people that others could buy from if they were in the market for some new shoes or hats.

It essentially became a tool to persuade the public to buy things they would have never thought of buying before and suddenly items that weren’t needed were being needed. Advertising eventually transformed to become what it is now and created a culture of people who could be influenced by slogans or images that are meant to trigger some emotional aspect of the brain. Political advertisements work just in the same way as every other consumer material commercial works- they want people’s loyalty. To advertisers, it doesn’t matter if something is not accurate, it just has to effective (Byrson). In the same way, political advertisers want to sell people a candidate so that people feel motivated enough to show their loyalty at the polls. Political advertisers tend use some of the most manipulative and deceptive instruments because after their candidate wins, their work is done for at least a while.

Thus, there are really no boundaries that advertisers are not willing to cross during political campaigns. During one of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign, there was an ad that was run praising Reagan for pay increases even though the increase had been set up in a law in 1975 that Reagan had tried to block numerous times. When a republican official was asked about it the response was: “since when is a commercial supposed to be accurate” (Bryson). Political advertisements will feed voters with deception and unfortunately with the immense funding and donations from dark money groups, many politicians win their elections by running such ads. Voters continuously see much of the same material being sent in their mail, to the same signs posted around their neighborhoods, that eventually they feel inclined to believe it.

Emotion is a very powerful tool that political advertisers like to use because many have learned that voting is more of an emotional act than a rational act. In Kilbourne’s essay, she talks about how the messages we are surrounded by try to “link our deepest emotions… and trivialize our most heartfelt moments and relationships” in order to sell us something. A famous 1964 political campaign advertisement known as the “Daisy” attack ad that was run by President Lyndon Johnson’s campaign against candidate Barry Goldwater is a perfect example how children are used as a weapon to make parents vote. The tv ad was sixty seconds long and featured a little girl in a field counting up from one every time she plucked a petal of a daisy.

Suddenly, a voice over recording from a nuclear missile countdown begins and an explosion pops up on the screen with a man saying “these are the stakes…we must either love each other or we must die” and then a black screen with the words “vote for president Johnson” appear. The little girl in the video evoked innocence and purity and to contrast that with the blazing imagery of warfare was shown not only weaponize people’s own fears but to also remind voters how important their loyalty on voting day needed to be. The ad was simple but effective for a time period when there was paranoia of a nuclear war breakout and although there was no direct mention of Goldwater, it made voters feel like there were only two options: vote for Johnson and live or die from a nuclear war.

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Definition of Sovereignty Created by The United States Government. (2022, Jan 05). Retrieved from

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