Drum looks at what Citizens United has unleashed:
The chart [above], based on data from Open Secrets, shows spending on midterm elections through January 21 in order to get a clean comparison of 2014 with previous election years.
Up through 2006, outside spending at this point in the election cycle had been flat for years at a very low level. In 2010, we were on an upward trajectory even before the Citizens United decision was handed down. And 2014? With Citizens United now in full operation, the sluice gates have opened wide. Outside spending is 25 times higher than it was at this point in 2006. Welcome to the future of American elections.
Meanwhile, Seth Masket studies publicly financed campaigns. One drawback to them:
Miller and I, along with Andrew Hall, have found some preliminary evidence that public financing contributes to partisan polarization. The method by which this occurs is not completely clear, but it appears that when we open up elections to a wider range of candidates, the candidates who take advantage of this tend to be more ideologically extreme than those who rise up through traditional financing schemes. Party donors don’t get to filter out candidates the way they normally do. My guess is that this outcome is not what most backers of public financing initially hoped for.