The Republican party has become a cult of cowardice, enabling a corrupt president through silence. They sold their souls and abandoned their principles to enact a poisonous agenda…and history will not treat them kindly. Meanwhile, Trump continues to destroy and defile the office of the presidency while taking a wrecking ball to hard-fought laws and regulations that took decades to enact. His cabinet is both the most tumultuous and corrupt in modern history, following his lead of conspicuous consumption to act like pigs feeding at a trough.
BUT as vile and lamentable as the party of Trump has become, they are merely the predictable outcome of a larger problem. Our true enemy, the cancer that has been growing on our Democracy for decades, is the concentration of wealth in the hands of a few.
The process of corrupt influence on our government began with huge, wealthy corporations. Whether it was oil companies lobbying politicians to allow unsafe drilling while spreading lies denying climate change, or chemical companies lobbying politicians to prevent proper testing (or any testing) on new food additives or herbicides or pesticides, or Wall Street lobbying politicians to remove Glass-Steagall, or the gun industry lobbying politicians to pass laws shielding the gun industry from liability lawsuits, or the pharmaceutical industry lobbying politicians to shut down any effort to regulate or negotiate lower prescription drug prices–the list is almost endless.
After huge corporations succeeded in spending small fortunes on lobbying–far more than their opponents could spend–they took the next step and began writing legislation to gave to politicians to enact. Before long, many federal laws were written by lobbyists and voted on by Congress virtually unchanged.
Then the Supreme Court decided that there should be far fewer limits on campaign finance, and opened the political floodgates with their grotesque and indefensible Citizens United decision. It allowed money not just to pay lobbyists, but to directly purchase politicians through PACs. The amount of money flowing into campaigns ballooned, giving politicians greater reason to ignore the individual voices of their average constituents and listen instead to the handful of huge donors that fund the calls and attack ads and flyers that soil our elections.
Alongside this trend, the tax cuts and deregulation of the Bush era continued to accelerate the concentration of wealth to the 1%, creating a new echelon of individual billionaires with as much money to spend as multinational corporations. The liberal billionaires tended to spend their money on curing diseases or responding to famine, while the conservative billionaires tended to buy media outlets to flood our nation with propaganda that ensured the protection and growth of their wealth.
Fox “news” is a great example. For two decades it demonized Democrats and liberals, spreading hate, fear and division as a profit strategy as well as a method of perpetuating the wealth of the Murdoch family. It also did a great job of demonizing and delegitimizing science and journalism–and actually any enterprise based on facts and reason. In so doing, it has become like a malignant tumor on the body politic and in concert with other propagandists produced its apotheosis–the Trump presidency.
There is something deeply unAmerican about the purchase of our politicians by wealthy partisans. It goes squarely against the Democratic creed of “one person, one vote”. We must continue to reject the Citizens United decision and do all we can to shame greedy CEOs and billionaires trying to force their agenda on our nation by virtue of their wealth. Rep John Faso is part of the problem. He is funded by several billionaires from outside our district, including the Koch Brothers and the Mercer family, and he also gets a lot of financial help from the NRA, the extraction industries, and other corporations with agendas that harm our society and environment. Our work to fire Faso is critical as we fight back against the rise of the 1% and their unAmerican political influence.