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Monday, January 13, 2014

Americans polarized politically? Follow the money


As a nation, plenty have wondered aloud why we Americans are so polarized, politically.  Why so far Right Wing? Why so far Left?

There was a terrific, even important, if lengthy, article in The New York Times yesterday, describing at least in part precisely why it happened and is happening.  As usual, as I've written here and elsewhere before, it's a case of money--and political parties--buying us.  And votes.  And even legislatures:

A National Strategy Funds State Political Monopolies


By his third year as chairman of the Alabama Republican organization, Mike Hubbard believed his party had just about everything it needed to win control of the State Legislature.

He had a plan: an 88-page playbook for the 2010 campaign, with detailed, district-by-district budgets and precise voter turnout targets. He had candidates: doctors, lawyers and small-business owners, most of them political novices recruited with an eye toward the anti-establishment fervor roiling the country.

What Mr. Hubbard did not have was enough money. Alabama law barred corporations, deep-pocketed natural allies for state Republicans, from giving more than $500 to candidates and parties — a limit that did not apply to the state’s unions.

So began a nationwide quest for cash that would take Mr. Hubbard, plan in hand, to the Republican Parties in states like Florida and Ohio, to a wealthy Texan who was one of the country’s biggest Republican givers and to a Washington organization that would provide checks from dozens of out-of-state corporations, among them 
ExxonMobil,  GoogleFacebook and Altria.

Exploiting a loophole in the state law and a network of political action committees in Alabama and Washington, Mr. Hubbard shuffled hundreds of thousands of out-of-state dollars into the Republican organization in Alabama, vastly outraising the state Democratic Party. On Election Day, Republicans won majorities in both the State Senate and House of Representatives for the first time since Reconstruction — and Alabama joined the rapidly growing fraternity of states where government is controlled by a single political party, now the largest it has been in more than half a century.

Further proof positive, folks.  We are being bought and sold. The wealthy and corporations, as shown here, are buying and selling us.

We have to fight to end this. 

We need to fight to end campaign contributions. 

We need to fight to get bills making this kind of out-of-state contributions illegal.

We need to make political campaigns--what?--one or two months long, total, on both the state and federal levels, as England did years ago so our legislators don't need or shill for this money.

And it's not just a Republican Party problem, by any means. It's both parties and any and every other political party that has any power whatever.

It's only then we'll get our country back, our government back, for the people.

Additional, great information on this very topic, too, from local blogger 

Radioman Kansas City:  

We're being bought and sold, folks.  You know it, I know it, we all know it.  We need to stand up and demand an end to it.  We can do this. 

In the meantime, these are just some of the results we're getting here in America, as we also know:


Doesn't this go against everything America and Americans are supposed to be about?



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