Nine PAC Ads from Stephen Colbert Spoof U.S. Election System

When the Supreme Court, in its infi­nite wis­dom, decid­ed that cor­po­ra­tions enjoy the free speech rights of indi­vid­u­als, it took a bad cam­paign finance sys­tem and made it worse. Sud­den­ly, free-spend­ing PACs, rep­re­sent­ing pow­er­ful busi­ness inter­ests, could flood our cam­paign finance sys­tem with unprece­dent­ed amounts of mon­ey and dis­tort the way we elect lead­ers in the Unit­ed States. In the ear­ly days of the Repub­li­can nom­i­na­tion process, we’re already see­ing the results. Super PACs, some­times receiv­ing $5 mil­lion from one indi­vid­ual, are run­ning attack ads — lots of attack ads — in pri­ma­ry states. And the real del­uge has yet to come. Just wait until next fall.

What to do about the sanc­tioned dis­tor­tion of our polit­i­cal sys­tem? It’s hard to be opti­mistic when fix­ing the prob­lem would real­is­ti­cal­ly require a con­sti­tu­tion­al amend­ment. But that’s what Lawrence Lessig (Har­vard law pro­fes­sor and founder of Cre­ative Com­mons) is try­ing to do. Appear­ing at Google (see below), Lessig describes how spe­cial inter­ests cor­rupt our polit­i­cal sys­tem, and what we can do to stop it. But even Lessig will admit that it’s an uphill bat­tle.

That leaves us with the next best solu­tion: turn a joke of an elec­tion sys­tem into a good joke. Enter Stephen Col­bert. The come­di­an has cre­at­ed his own Super PAC (run by Jon Stew­art) that comes com­plete with its own TV ads. The par­o­dy above — an attack ad on attack ads — makes its point pret­ty effec­tive­ly. You can watch eight more Col­bert PAC com­mer­cials here, and make a dona­tion to his PAC here. And, if you’re feel­ing gen­er­ous, you can show your sup­port for Open Cul­ture here.

Break­ing News: Stephen Col­bert ends qua­si-pres­i­den­tial cam­paign

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.