We already know that the Republican party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the billionaire class. Between special interests like the NRA, the oil lobby, petrochemical lobby, farm lobby, insurance lobby and Wall Street, the GOP has received millions and millions of dollars. They have also received millions and millions from wealthy individuals and families like the Mercers, the Smith family, the Murdochs, Sheldon Adelson and the Kochs. While liberal billionaires endeavor to cure disease or ease poverty or educate girls, conservative billionaires are trying to buy our Democracy one politician and one state house at a time.
It’s easy to blame greed for the tsunami of conservative cash flowing to Republicans, but the underlying motivation is more complicated and more sinister. And at the helm of the entire enterprise sits the Koch brothers. Much has been written about their long game, but their goals haven’t begun to penetrate liberal circles until now. And it’s horrifying how much they’ve accomplished behind the scenes. While we were coasting along satisfied with the historically stable, dignified and thoughtful presidency of Barack Obama, the Koch network was busy buying local politicians and taking over state houses. The Kochs have funded countless right-wing think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute, and their paid operatives are good at buying get-out-the-vote operations and essentially paying to control politicians. Every time you see a conservative on TV from a think tank, the Kochs probably have a tentacle or connection to them.
Of course, the fuel behind their takeover can be seen in every minute of every Fox “news” broadcast, and on the airwaves of AM hate-radio. Fear of the other, fear of a loss of liberty, fear of institutions, fear of educated people who want to destroy their way of life–whatever that means.
Why do they need to take over state houses when all of the big action happens on the Federal level? Because there is one major role state houses play that the Kochs desperately need in order to achieve their plans. If Congress refuses to propose an amendment to the Constitution, an amendment can be presented for a vote by the states at a Constitutional Convention. And a Convention must be convened with 34 states call for it. Slowly, the Koch network has coaxed 32 states to call for it (depending on how you define it), and they are working on landing the last 2.
Why the hell do the Kochs want to call a convention? Because they are monumentally greedy and malicious. They want to change our Constitution to eliminate features of America that make it harder for them to rape the land, pollute the air, despoil the oceans, and screw over workers with impunity. They want to eliminate the New Deal protections like Social Security and Medicare that brought decades of stability and prosperity to our nation. They want a Federal balanced budget amendment that any sane economist knows would be a disaster for our nation.
If you think this is liberal alarmism or left-wing conspiracy nonsense, you are tragically mistaken. This is the stated goal of the Koch network. This is the mission they shout about and brag about at their gatherings and in their internal documents. Don’t take my word for it. Here is an article in the Daily Kos from last February:
Scholar Nancy MacLean has written a book about it, which she talked about on Real Time with Bill Maher last Friday. Here is a clip. She is no fringe wingnut. She’s the William H. Chafe Professor of History and Public Policy at Duke University. Here’s a clip:
This is some serious shit. Luckily, the unAmerican Kochs haven’t yet succeeded in buying the Constitution, but they are getting close. The best way for us to fight back? VOTE in the midterm elections. Get your friends and family to VOTE in the midterm elections. It’s not an exaggeration to say that this will be the most consequential vote of our lives, for myriad reasons. Let’s keep working to elect Antonio Delgado and Fire Feckless Faso to send a message to Trump and the Murdochs and the Kochs that their money isn’t as valuable as our Democratic system. The stakes are too high to sit this one out.