Thursday, February 6, 2014

Koch blocked

This is funny, but it's scary, too. Negative campaigning works - not always, of course, but if it didn't work, politicians wouldn't do it. (Note the political power of the NRA!)

And money works. Money hasn't become hugely important in our political campaigns for no reason. By and large, the side with the most money wins. That's why the wealthy have been able to buy politicians - not because politicians are inherently corrupt, but because they want to win elections.

After all, it's not that the wealthy can vote any more often than the rest of us. The Koch brothers still only have two votes between them. (And let me tell you, they hate that and would change it just as soon as they got the power to do so.)

No, their power depends entirely on their money, especially in this post-Citizens United world where corporations are considered 'people' - and people who can spend unlimited amounts of their own and other people's money to control our government, at that.

Thanks to decades of 'trickle-down' economic policies, including George W. Bush's enormous tax cuts for the wealthy, wealth and income inequality are at record levels in America. So the very rich have plenty of money to spend on politics - especially since they expect to get all that, and more, returned to them by the government once their politicians get elected.

But they lost in 2012, despite all the money they spent. So now, they're jumping into local elections, which are much, much cheaper to buy. Sure, it didn't work in this particular election, but you can bet it will work elsewhere.

Still, this story does demonstrate one thing very clearly: these billionaires only have the power we give them. They can't elect anyone unless we're ignorant enough and gullible enough to go along with what they're peddling. They could spend every cent they had on attack ads, but they still need us to vote their way.

And they don't have the majority. Unfortunately, all too often, they've got the majority of people who are actually willing to get off their butts and vote. Well, they try to discourage voting, too. They try to make it as difficult as possible, and they try to convince people that it won't make any difference (while simultaneously trying to make their own supporters angry enough to make the effort, themselves).

All too often, that works. Money works. If it didn't, we wouldn't have this problem. But it doesn't have to work. That's entirely up to us. These people only have the power we give them.

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