There should be no doubt about what the United States really is: a plutocracy. A plutocracy is a system of government whereby a small minority of wealthy citizens dominate the society.
The recent Supreme Court decision removing the limit on the total contributions a person can give in a campaign cycle is the latest victory for our wealthy owners who now seem to be acting out of sheer spite – the obscene levels of wealth the rich are hoarding aren’t enough for them; they want more.
Chief Justice John Roberts explained in the majority opinion that there “is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.” Roberts and the other “conservative” members of the Supreme Court should drop all pretense and admit they are not careful and studious judges of the Constitution, but willful servants of the wealthy and powerful dedicated to destroying whatever semblance of American democracy remains.
Despite this travesty, many Americans will dutifully go to the polls this fall to participate in an “election.” This “election” will consist of plutocrat-approved candidates mouthing whatever their campaign managers tell them to say based on the latest polling and psychological research designed to appeal to as wide a net of people as possible.
In short, they will say as little as possible and blabber on with a few vague, meaningless campaign slogans. The goal is to simply get elected so you can continue collecting campaign checks and fulfill your role as lapdog for the corporations, banks, and so on. Once you get bored with politics, you can become a lobbyist or highly-paid speaker on the public circuit. In essence, being profoundly contemptuous of democratic principles is a prerequisite for running for office in this country.
Of course, people will be lucky if they can even choose between members of the two-party dictatorship. The vast majority of races aren’t competitive. Only 25 House seats out of 435 were considered a “tossup” in the 2012 election, or 5.7%. If I were to be more generous and include “leaning Democratic” and “leaning Republican” races, that would be 81 seats out of 435, or 18.6%. That means, at best, 81.4% of House races were determined before the election even began.
Alabama’s first congressional district didn’t even have an opponent on the ballot, and the incumbent cruised to victory with 97.9% of the vote.
What’s worse, Democratic candidates actually received 1.4 million more votes than Republican candidates – but Republicans maintained control of the House by a 234 to 201 margin. So how does the party that wins the election end up losing it? Because of a fine tradition called gerrymandering.
After capturing most state legislatures in the 2010 election, Republicans dedicated themselves to redrawing the district maps in their favor. Both parties, of course, are guilty of this, but Republicans have shown a particular contempt for democracy, openly advocating stopping poor people and minorities from voting.
The Senate, that archaic institution designed to check the democratic tendencies of the people lest they decide to run their own country, hardly fares better. Of the 33 seats up for grabs in 2012, only eight were considered a “tossup,” or 24.2%. Including the ten “leaning Democratic” and “leaning Republican” races, that figure rises to eighteen, or 54.5%, still a pathetically low figure if you believe an “election” is supposed to mean anything.
Of course, the 2012 presidential election broke all records as the most expensive in history. The 2016 election will probably blow that one out of the water, as the wealthy converge to bid on their favorite candidates.
It’s already happening. Potential Republican candidates recently assembled in Las Vegas (in non-ironic fashion) to pander to Sheldon Adelson, world’s eighth richest person, who makes $32 million per day. What “scares” Adelson is the “socialist-style economy” that Obama has instituted.
He’s also a “supporter of Israel.” When Chris Christie made the mistake of accurately referring to the Palestinian Occupied Territories as the Palestinian Occupied Territories, he had to personally apologize to Adelson. Thus, Palestinians can look forward to further Israeli/American subjugation for the foreseeable future (a bipartisan consensus for decades).
It’s easy to mock “elections” in countries like North Korea, but how, exactly, do American “elections” differ? Candidates are chosen by the wealthy through funding. The public is then invited to choose amongst these candidates (and that is if you are lucky, as we have seen above with most races, they are already decided beforehand).
The two-party dictatorship actively blocks efforts to allow third parties on ballots or in debates. Why? Because if these alternative voices were heard, the public would realize they do not have to subject themselves to the pathetic “choices” currently available to them. They would, instead, have the opportunity to elect someone who represents their interests, and that is a very dangerous principle to the wealthy and powerful.
Voting, then, is nothing but a form of social engineering. False choices are presented by the wealthy. People pick amongst these choices, thinking they are participating in something called “democracy.” People feel they have had their say. And the established order is given legitimacy.
When people get angry, they will vote for the other party. This fall, it is likely Republicans will win. This is despite the fact that people hate Republicans more than they hate Democrats. But since America is not a democracy, there is no other way to vent your rage. So you vote for the opposite party.
Americans really do feel helpless and hopeless. This is what fuels Tea Party nonsense. What they must do is, first, educate themselves. They must come to understand that the ultra-wealthy are systematically destroying their chances for a decent life. The bottom 80% of Americans have only 7% of the wealth. The richest 400 people have more wealth than the poorest 150 million. Incomes for the richest 1% increased 31% from 2009 to 2012. For the 99%? 0.4%.
They must also come to understand that neither political party will save them. They do not represent the people. They represent the corporations, banks, and other financial institutions. Instead of voting in “elections,” Americans must instead organize themselves in their communities and press their demands into the political arena. With enough education and organization, this movement will hopefully reach a critical mass, at which point the established order can finally be abolished.