Democracy on the Auction Block
By Rebel Fagin
You can smell the fear emanating from their politics. The party of the rich, white men, the Republicans, is on the run, well aware that they don’t represent America. They will do anything to hold onto power.
During the 2014 election they bought the Senate and firmed up their ownership of the House. 94% of the House seats and 81% of the Senate seats went to the highest bidder. One forth of the $4 billion plus that went into this election was Dark Money. Dark Money does not have to reveal its sources. 70% of it goes to Republicans and 30% goes to Democrats. Dark Money is contributed under tax code 501.C4; the category for social welfare groups. Half the money needs to go to social welfare while the other half can be spent supporting the same causes as their preferred candidate. This money can also be used for negative campaigns that the candidate doesn’t want to be associated with. This election they came up with a new category, tax code 501.C6. This eliminates the need for social welfare spending. Crossroads GPS, Rove’s social welfare group, bought 6 Senators while Americans for Prosperity, one of the Koch social welfare groups, bought 5 Senators. The Federal Elections Committee has yet to investigate Dark Money.
There were no voter ID laws prior to 2006. It is estimated that voter ID laws took nearly 6 million votes from Obama in 2008. During the 2011/ 2012 Congressional session, Republicans introduced 141 voting ID laws in 41 states. These laws hit elders, people who move frequently and the poor. These people rarely vote Republican.
This year the Republican fear factory came up with the claim that some people (they mean minorities) were registering and voting in two different states during the same election. 27 states, 20 of which had Republicans in charge of elections, used the Crosscheck program to halt this imaginary election fraud. Crosscheck generated a list of nearly 7 million names of people they claim have voted in two or more states during the same election. No one has been convicted. Crosscheck matches first and last name only. Targeted names include Washington (89% of Washington’s are African-American), Garcia (90% Latino/Latina), Kim and Chung (95% Asian- American). Georgia took out 40,000 voters and their Republican Senator won 53% to 45%. Virginia removed 41,637 voters and their Republican Senator won 49% to 48%. Other close Senate elections where Crosscheck was employed and Republicans won include Alaska (49% to 45%), Colorado (49% to 45%) and North Carolina (49% to 46%). Did Crosscheck swing these states for the Republicans?
The corporate media has presented the 2014 election as a rejection of Obama and progressive policies, yet when I look at the election that’s not what I see. All the Personhood amendments lost. Minimum wage went up in five states, background checks for guns were approved in two states and now marijuana is either decriminalized or legal in states from the Bering Straits to Mexico. Rich white guys are running scared and nowhere are this more apparent then in Richmond, California.
Chevron spent over $3 million; $250 per voter for the Richmond City Council election and lost. There are several factors at play here. Richmond has suffered for years from their major employer. To parents, a paycheck doesn’t matter much when you are looking at your child’s inhaler as one of the perks that came with the job. People began organizing nearly ten years ago. The candidates they ran for city council were known and trusted by the people of Richmond. Chevron’s candidates were strangers who moved within city limits just prior to the election. The campaign headquarters of Charles Ramirez was a PO Box at a UPS store while Donna Powers’s campaign headquarters was an empty house next to a vacant lot. Chevron tried to hide their influence through Moving Forward and two other campaign committees, but it didn’t work and everyone saw who was trying to buy the election. Chevron lost and the community won.
Therein lies our key. Match money power with voter power. Organize and fight back. Prior to the next election register and register again then bring your proof with you to the polling station. Never mail in votes. Vote early. Each one bring one. Voting machines are designed to steal votes. You have a legal right to demand paper ballots. Vote unconditionally – never provisionally. They are on the run and we can change outcomes in the electoral arena if we organize and fight back. Move to Amend today.
Sources: Billionaires & Ballot Bandits © 2012 Greg Palast, Al Jazeera America 10/25/14, Corporations & Democracy 11/11/14, Moyers & Company 11/12/14, Democracy Now 11/3 -11/5/14, US Census Bureau