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Economic and Political Populism Is Here To Stay

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Message Stephen Crockett
Economic and Political Populism Is Here To Stay

Exciting times are ahead for Democratic activists and officeholders. The 2006 Democratic Landslide has shown a striking populist tendency that is likely to grow dramatically in 2008. Economics and a growing outrage over political corruption (legal and illegal) are driving a wave of populist demands for structural political reforms.

The power of campaign money to dominate and control the political agenda has expanded to the breaking point under the Bush Republicans. A strong backlash was inevitable and, frankly, long overdue.

American Democracy has always been based on a strong middle class that is both educated and involved in our government. This middle class has been under severe economic assault since the Reagan Administration by the Corporate and Big Money elite. The assault has been fought on two important fronts. These fronts are government policy and political propaganda. The weapons used were money and assets purchased by money.

The Republican Corporate forces used the power they gained under Reagan to destroy the chief institutions that the middle classes relied on to maintain their economic positions and political influence. Starting with Reagan and continuing until now, government restrictions on monopoly power were undermined. The wealthy grew much wealthier and used their growing wealth to corrupt the institutions of government.

Monopoly laws, unions and lawsuits were the three main checks on the political and economic power of the Corporations. The Bush Republicans systematically pursued policies and public relations campaigns to neutralize all three institutional checks on Corporate power.

Reagan started the assault on unions in the 1980's. We all remember his disgraceful treatment of the air traffic controllers. The current Bush Administration has practically been making war on organized labor. They have stripped millions of workers of their right to bargain collectively with employers. Trade policies have been adopted that threaten the jobs of most Americans and undermines the national security of the American nation.

Unions are largely responsible for the vibrant middle class lifestyle that dominated American society from FDR until Reagan. Unions made working class status essentially the same as middle class status until the Republicans and large international corporations captured our government and economy. Under Bush, middle class lifestyles are slipping into a working poor status.

The Republicans are seeking to limit, and have already limited, your ability to challenge the Corporate and Super wealthy elite in courts of law. The courts have been corrupted by Right Wing court packing. Government regulators have often been selected by the very businesses that they were to regulate. Tort reform amounts to the average citizen losing their legal rights to effective justice. Legal or not, this entire process has been totally corrupt.

Taxes were shifted from those most able to pay them to the struggling middle class and future generations. The Super Wealthy used the excess wealth gained to further corrupt our political system. Government contracts gave billions of tax dollars to Republican connected Corporations in highly questionable, and possibly illegal, deals.

The Republican dominated Supreme Court ruled that money is essentially the same as free speech. Our ancestors who established this nation and wrote our Constitution would have been revolted by this ruling and the growth of a politically powerful, economic elite ruling class.

Middle class Americans have started using their votes to fight back against the entire corrupt process. The very existence of the American Middle Class is at stake. If we lose our Middle Class, our American Democracy will not survive. American voters are starting to see the results of Republican rule and the growing threat of Corporate dominance. They will fight back. It is an American tradition as old as the nation.

Democratic officeholders had better understand that the old, corrupt ways will not be tolerated. Policies and laws will have to be quickly adopted to reverse the decline of the American Middle Class and improve the lot of the working poor.

Corporate power and monopolies must be checked and eventually reversed. National interests must prevail over Corporate interests when it comes to trade policies. Consumers must be better protected along with small investors and small businesses. Economic and political populism is here to stay.

Written by Stephen Crockett (host of Democratic Talk Radio .) Mail: P.O. Box 283, Earleville, Maryland 21919. Email: . Phone: 443-907-2367.

Feel free to publish at no charge without prior approval.
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Stephen Crockett is co-host of Democratic Talk Radio and author of the Democratic Voices opinion column.
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