This case would put SCOTUS on the spot, that is certain. Sullivan is settled law, decided 9-0 with strong concurrences, and I dont question it. You dont overturn Sullivan, you go around it. Sullivan should be right, because in 1844 it would have been right. And the facts before the Court in 1964 did not raise the right question for Sullivan to be as generally applicable as it is cracked up to be.We are better off if we focus on winning elections and then running the country successfully.
The whole point is that the First Amendment tries to assure that the people have reasonable access to all reasonable political opinion. Sullivan tries to implement that. The problem is that Sullivan takes for granted that the First Amendment was in fact successful in its intent of assuring that Americans have reasonable access to all reasonable opinions. 1A was written to assuage fear that the newly constituted government might prevent that via censorship. 1A does not explicitly assure that a private monopoly never does the same thing, by other means - but preventing or redressing such by other law is clearly not in conflict with the intent of 1A.
Sullivan suggests that neither Democrat nor Republican politicians have a right to redress of libel complaints; the trouble is that Republicans are routinely libeled - and Democrats never are. The system by which criticism of Democrats is systematically suppressed in the MSM is the problem. And/or, the problem is the existence of such a thing as an MSM. It all revolves around the claims of journalistic objectivity which attach to the MSM and the extent to which the government sanctions such claims (via the FEC in particular, also by the FCC, and probably by other mechanisms including indoctrination in government schools).
So what if we do run the country successfully? Democrats systematically
fail atavoid doing that, and nearly as systematically win election of a two-term POTUS every 16 years. And were odds-on favorites to make their own ascendency a permanent condition after deploying secret police against our candidate (if not all 16 preliminary candidates) prior to the 16 campaign.
The courts need to clean up that system before it attains majority status in SCOTUS, making itself permanent. The Democrat Party is not independent of the journalism establishment, and neither is the FBI or CIA or any government bureaucracy you want to name.