Jimmy Carter: U.S. Is an 'Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery'

The 39th president said the 'Citizens United' ruling 'violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system'

Former President Jimmy Carter had some harsh words to say about the current state of America's electoral process, calling the country "an oligarchy with unlimited political bribery" resulting in "nominations for president or to elect the president." When asked this week by The Thom Hartmann Program (via The Intercept) about the Supreme Court's April 2014 decision to eliminate limits on campaign donations, Carter said the ruling "violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system."

The 39th president also voiced concerns that the limitless flow of campaign cash severely favors those already in office. "The same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members," Carter said. "So now we've just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election's over."

Carter's comments come as the 2016 presidential race tops 20 candidates, most of them Republicans. "The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves," Carter said. "Somebody’s who's already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who's just a challenger."

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also disagreed with the controversial Citizens United ruling that opened up campaign spending. She was among the dissenters in the court's 5-4 decision that erased campaign-spending caps, and called the ruling the "most disappointing" in her 22-year tenure on the court "because of what has happened to elections in the United States and the huge amount of money it takes to run for office."