Just before Christmas I did an interview with WisconsinEye, our state's version of C-SPAN, about the dizzying amounts of money spent on state and federal elections in Wisconsin since the Supreme Court's 2010 ruling in the Citizens United case. More than $376 million can already be accounted for, and the meter is still running. Fundraising and spending reports due in late January will add considerably to the tally.
Now consider this: A new report by the national Campaign Finance Institute shows that an elite cadre of donors amounting to just over 1% of the country's adult population makes all the donations that fuel all the spending in elections for governor and state legislature. In Wisconsin, we have marginally more donors than the average state. Just over 2% of our adult population makes campaign contributions in state elections.
In 2010, Wisconsin had a voting age population of close to 4.4 million people. Not quite 93,000 gave to state election campaigns.
For many years, our nation's motto was E Pluribus Unum. Out of many, one. Now it's more like E Pauci Nimis. Out of a few, too much.