An enduring factor in American elections is the “lesser of two evils” (also known as “the lesser of two weasels”) issue. On one side is the citizen that won’t vote because the lesser of two evils is still evil. On the other side is the citizen that will vote because the lesser of two evils is still lesser. Now, I’ve always come down on the lesser-is-lesser, voting side — I can usually see a better, or at least a less worse. Besides, I think that politicians are like persons of other occupational groups — few are truly evil, but many go along with the evil that is baked into the system under which they work. And the biggest evil that is baked into the American political system may be that of legalized bribery.
As I see it, legalized bribery is the heart of American plutocracy — rule by the richest 1% that has risen and strengthened itself since about 1980. The bribery begins with a big corporation or billionaire hiring lobbyists and donating to a politician’s campaign. The lobbyists write-up the law they want and give it to the politician, who sneaks it into a bigger bill before Congress. That law then results in much more money flowing to, or saved by, the big corporation or billionaire — and a phenomenal return on investment. Then, when out of office, the politician takes a cushy job at the lobbying firm.
Meanwhile, the 99% of citizens — who should be the highest power in a democratic republic — are left at the side of the road, with the occasional bone tossed their way by their supposed public servants. With the resources sucked up by the plutocracy, little is left to secure the pursuit of happiness, establish justice, promote the general welfare, or secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.
But in the current primary elections there stands a candidate for president — Bernie Sanders — that directly fights legalized bribery.
Firstly, he opts out of the system by refusing campaign donations from super PACs — the main funding pipeline from big corporations and billionaires to politicians. Instead, he funds his campaign right from the citizenry in the form of millions of small donations.
Secondly, his policies would rein in the wealth of the 1% and cripple the plutocracy, while promoting the general welfare of the people. For example, a small tax on Wall Street speculative transactions would be used to provide tuition-free college to any person willing and able to do the work. And, of great importance, a carbon tax, and an end to fossil fuel corporate tax breaks that would fund a total build out of clean energy, would put the nation on track to meet its share of responsibility to arrest climate change.
Thirdly, Sanders would aim at ending legalized bribery via full disclosure by big donors, public funding of elections, and a Constitutional amendment to reverse the Roberts Court’s money-is-speech, corporation-is-person rulings that opened the floodgates of campaign funding and led to the creation of super PACs.
Given that Sanders has a track record of steadfast work and follow-through, and that he has finished first in the Democratic Party primaries of nine states, it gives us a real chance at knocking down the legalized bribery system and the plutocracy, and ending evil-is-evil non-voting. That chance may be the chance of a lifetime. Let every voter seize it and vote Bernie!
lesser of two evils “ Lesser-Evilism We Can Believe In” By Michael Tomasky, The Nation; MARCH 23, 2015
called “legalized bribery.” “Legalized Bribery” by Fred Wertheimer, Politico; 2014-01-19
rule by the richest “Rich people rule!” By Larry Bartels, The Washington Post; April 8, 2014
bribery begins “Corruption is Legal in America” – Represent.Us (via YouTube)
pursuit of happiness “The Declaration of Independence” – U.S. National Archives
establish justice “The Constitution of the United States” – U.S. National Archives
opts out “Bernie Sanders Reaches 1 Million Donations Faster Than Any Presidential Campaign in History — And dedicated Super PACS are not part of the equation.” By Zaid Jilani, AlterNet; September 30, 2015
provide tuition-free college “How Bernie pays for his proposals” – Bernie Sanders
carbon tax “Combating Climate Change to Save the Planet – #PEOPLEBEFOREPOLLUTERS” – Bernie Sanders
would fund a total build out “How Bernie pays for his proposals” – Bernie Sanders
via full disclosure “Getting Big Money Out of Politics and Restoring Democracy” – Bernie Sanders
follow-through “Meet Bernie” – Bernie Sanders
In Congress, Bernie has fought tirelessly for working families, focusing on the shrinking middle class and growing gap between the rich and everyone else. Bernie has been called a “practical and successful legislator” and he was dubbed the “amendment king” in the House of Representatives for passing more amendments than any other member of Congress. As chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, Bernie worked across the aisle to “bridge Washington’s toxic partisan divide and cut one of the most significant deals in years.” In 2015, Democratic leadership tapped Bernie to serve as the caucus’ ranking member on the Senate Budget Committee.
finished first “2016 Presidential Primaries Results” – Politico
chance of a lifetime “The Lesser Evil is Still Evil” By polkageist via Daily Kos; Mar 10, 2016
… I’m 80 and was born and lived in a golden age for lower and middle class citizens. For the last forty years I have been fighting ineffectually against the rising power of oligarchy that has been at work since Franklin Roosevelt began the New Deal. The open warfare began with Ronald Reagan and accelerated under Clinton, both Bushes, and Obama. Now with Bernie Sander’s candidacy I have some hope we can repair the damage. I don’t know how tenuous that hope is but I have hope. That’s important.
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