"America," said former Orlando Congressman Alan Grayson last week, "is a two-sector economy: giant corporations, and people. The corporations sweep away $1 trillion a year, and spend it all on stock buybacks. The people try not to go broke." A couple of days ago, Missouri populist and Senate candidate Lucas Kunce said that "Massive multinational corporations have waged economic warfare on our communities for years. Our politicians don't just stand by and watch-- they sell themselves to the highest bidder to help make it happen."
Pretty strong-- and exactly what the Democratic Party should be running on. And if Democrats feel they're on the wrong side of that argument... maybe they should jump the fence now, the way New Jersey Blue Dog Jefferson Van Drew did not that long ago. If Kunce's sentiments aren't at the core of the Democratic Party, the only thing left at the core is "we're not as bad as Trump" and "please give us money."
A couple of states north, Wisconsin is another state being sucked dry by corporate America. The progressive candidate in the Senate race there, Tom Nelson told me yesterday that last summer, he conducted listening sessions in all 72 counties. "If there is one thing I learned, it is the power of corporate America is crushing the little fella in the city and in the countryside. No more pronounced was it than in rural Burnett County in western Wisconsin where Chinese-owned Smithfield Farms is siting a 26,000-head hog farm. They aren't there to create jobs. They will pollute the land, drain the aquifers and kill even more family farms. And they are going to be able to do it because the Republican legislature stripped local control from the county board so they are essentially powerless in stopping them. The Smithfield Farms of the country are not just killing jobs and the economy-- they're killing democracy."
But the isn't just a Midwest phenomenon of course. Washington state congressional candidate Jason Call, has been campaigning on a platform that goes even beyond Kunce, Grayson and Nelson when it comes to the overreach of multinational corporate megaliths and the legalistic, transpartisan and massive bribery of Congress. "It’s not so much selling themselves to the highest bidder, because all of these corporations donate to both sides of the duopoly. It’s that this kind of blatant bribery on behalf of business interests and the fantastically wealthy is allowed at all. We’ve identified 53 Democrats (now down to 51 with some announced retirements) who are majority corporate PAC funded. And it is the norm for congressmembers who are heavily funded by particular industries to sit on the regulatory committees that oversee those industries. Here in Washington, we just found out that newly elected (2018) rep in WA-08 Kim Schrier, sitting on the House Energy & Commerce committee, is heavily invested in Apple stock, which stands to be impacted by the decisions of that committee. So it goes beyond campaign contributions in many cases, the corruption is directly tied to the personal wealth of representatives. The WA-02 corporate Democrat incumbent I’m challenging takes tons of money from the unholy corporate trinity of Fossil Fuels, the Transportation Industry, and the Military Industrial Complex. He sits on both the House Armed Services and Transportation Committees, and his allegiances put him squarely in the camp of continued war machine funding, continued drilling and pipelines, and the most meager investments in changing transportation systems to run on renewable and sustainable energy. Anyone who has looked at the House Transportation Committee's Invest in America Act will surely see the greenwashing that has become the norm in Congress and among world powers as they fail to address the upscaling of the climate crisis. We’re at a point where we cannot waste precious time in obfuscating these problems that are rooted in the corporate ownership of all three branches of government. We are in desperate need of campaign finance reform and publicly funded elections."
"While working class families have struggled to meet their basic needs," Orange County progressive candidate Mike Ortega told us, "corporate Democrats have been raking in big money from the corporations profiting from human misery. You can see this no clearer than with right-wing Democrat Lou Correa (CA-46) who has raked in tens of thousands of dollars from big Pharma while opposing efforts to lower prescription drug prices. Progressives in the United States need to take a stand against Blue Dog sellouts like Lou."
Honolulu progressive Sergio Alcubilla is lighting a fire under the status quo establishment "Unlike our incumbent," he told me last nice, referring to Blue Dog Ed Case, "I have pledged not to accept corporate PAC money and our campaign will be people-centered and people-powered. Money in politics continues to cloud the judgment of our elected leaders and has disconnected them from the needs of their constituents. Money buys access and the ear of our politicians. Without thousands of dollars to donate to political campaigns, ordinary voters have little chance to compete against these multinational corporations. When it comes to voting on legislation as common sense as the Build Back Better agenda, politicians (our incumbent included) are not hearing the voices of those in need but rather those corporate interests who fund their campaigns. That's why I will prioritize campaign finance reform in Congress. Our only recourse is the power of the vote. If an elected politician sells us out, we need to vote them out!"