Progressives have no power in a corporate, focus-grouped, Wall Street-leaning party. The Democrats conduct since the midterm debacle is as sad and sorry as the campaign that caused it. The party s leaders are a big problem. A bigger one is the closed system of high-dollar fundraising, reductionist polling and vapid messaging in which it is seemingly trapped. Some say a more populist Democratic Party will soon emerge. It won t happen as long as these leaders and this system are in place.
The dominating significance of the mid-term American legislative elections just finished has been the occasion's dramatic confirmation of the corruption of the American electoral system. This disastrous state of affairs is the product of two Supreme Court decisions and before that, of the repeal under the Reagan Administration, of the provision in the Federal Communications Act of 1934, stipulating the public service obligations of radio (and subsequently, of television) broadcasters in exchange for the government s concession to them of free use in their businesses of the public airways.
A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy - namely, that it no longer exists. Asking "who really rules?" researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America's political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power. Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.
For those who believe money already has too much power in U.S. politics, 2012 will be a miserable year. The Supreme Court s Citizens United decision, lassitude at the Federal Election Commission and the growing audacity of very rich conservatives have created a new political system that will make the politics of the Gilded Age look like a clean government paradise.
The overriding interest of the Republican Establishment has been and continues to be: the accumulation of power through the control of the income, borrowing and spending by the Federal Government. Thus, with the exception of the presidency of Ronald Reagan and the Republican controlled House of Representatives from 1995 to 1999, the Republican members of the Ruling Class have been content since 1952 to merely slow down the big-government policies of the Democrats while publicly decrying their tax and spend policies.
"America worships the idea of capitalism but there have been many fundamental paradoxes and contradictions in terms of how it's actually practiced," says Gillian Tett, U.S. managing editor of The Financial Times. The 2008 crisis "has forced us to rethink a lot of our assumptions, not just about Wall Street but much more broadly about how we run the economies."
Mitt Romney is casting the 2012 campaign as "free enterprise on trial" - defining free enterprise as achieving success through hard work and risking-taking. Tea Party favorite Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina says he s supporting Romney because "we really need someone who understands how risk, taking risk" is the way we create jobs, create choices, expand freedom." Chamber of Commerce President Tom Donahue, defending Romney, explains "this economy is about risk. If you don t take risk, you can't have success."
Well, "The Washington post" three weeks ago had this investigation and they said that President Obama has now raised more money from Wall Street and the banks for this election cycle than all -- than all eight Republicans combined. I don't want to say that, because if that's the truth, that Wall Street already has their man and his name is Barack Obama, then we've got a much bigger problem.