One factor: The Bush Tax cuts have permitted the right to amass a major war chest, in part, because the average Republican leaning millionaire became $300,000 to $500,000 richer, 53 percent of all after tax gains went to the rich, the top 10 percent of 1 percent. 60 percent of corporate money comes from the finance sector.
The beneficiaries of this transfer of wealth to the top understood that their windfall came about through politics, and, to keep it, they have to invest more in politics. Say Hacker, "Everyone can vote but not everyone can donate. Money changes the relationship between the politicians and donors Money has a "distortion effect; on what politicians focus on."
This is why the former Obama Chief of Staff, and now Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said famously, you need three things to win in politics; Money, Money and Money.
Chicago Magazine explained his well-honed technique back when he worked for Bill Clinton:
"Here's how to be the most effective fund-raiser in politics today: Plaster a phone to your ear. Speak rapidly, in barely restrained tones of impassioned outrage. Tell the important person on the other end of the line that the large check he's just written for your candidate's campaign isn't large enough. Say this: "Five thousand dollars? You, you, you--I wouldn't embarrass you by having it listed that you only gave $5,000? You're a $25,000 person; better to give nothing and say you were out of town. If you want to give $5,000, fine, but don't call me when people start asking you if you're going bankrupt. People of your stature are giving $50,000 ."
The Republicans have more donors in it for the ideology, not the ego. They don't have to be begged. Their greed, animus towards Obama, and sense of self-interest is their driver.
The effect of all this money has been different for Democrats and Rcpublicans, " says Hacker. Repubs have moved further to the right than Dems to the left. Money is not neutral in effects. Republicans have been emboldened
On the basis of his reporting, Hagan notes how politics has become an industry with an orientation towards raising and managing money. It deploys its millions not only supporting candidates but backing the disciplined infrastructure led by professional political consultants who plan the strategies and run the show, coordinating the Superposes and orchestrating the troops. This fraternity he says, convinces politicians that they are the "tool" they need to win, get paid huge amounts of money
He says that together they form a "Presidential election industrial complex." He says its point is destruction, with opposition research driving negative ads and vitriolic campaigns.
That's one academic and media view What about the people who are monitoring this madness, like Sheila Krumholz, the director of The Center for Responsive Politics, who posts data money in politics on the must read website, Open Secrets.org.
She told me recently, "There's been a seismic shift in money's influence in politics and on legislation and policy, ultimately. Primarily because of the Citizen's United decision taken by the supreme court in January of 2010, which open wide the flood gates on money--and for the first time in arguably in decades or even a century allows this money to come directly from corporate and labor union treasuries trade associations--to be spent to influence the election of federal candidates."
I asked her, "does this mean that American voters have less and less influence on what's actually happening in America?"
Her response: "It certainly means that American voters have less information about the organizations which are trying to influence who wins office, and ultimately what laws get passed. Does it then take away some of the influence that they have? Yes, because they're making decisions in the dark."
And there we are, back in the dark, on the edge of an abyss, as the Iceberg looms and many of us want to look the other way.
News Dissector Danny Schechter blogs at Newsdissector.net. He is the author of the just published collection of his writings, Blogothon, published by Cosimo Books. He hosts News Dissector Radio on Progressive Radio Network (PRN.fm) Fridays at 1 PM.
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