The Republican Party has clearly sold its soul to moneyed interests (Wall Street, banks, and large corporations). Their agenda is clear and they have achieved a degree of unity that would be admirable if it were in the service of more noble aims.
Republicans have been working for over thirty years now to roll back or repeal the social programs put in place by Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. I remember watching President Reagan’s budget director, David Stockman, let the cat out of the bag, while testifying on TV before a Congressional committee in the early 1980s. He said the plan was to cut taxes (always popular with voters) and increase military spending until the national debt grew to a level that made it impossible to fund social programs. They are frighteningly close to achieving their goal.
They have been aided and abetted in their efforts by some members of the Democratic Party. Although the support of moneyed interests for Democratic candidates is noticeably weaker than it is for Republicans, the plutocrats like to hedge their bets. And many Democratic candidates take their legalized bribes because they know they need to raise huge sums of money to buy the TV ads that have become necessary to win elections.
Although Democrats must give lip service to legislation that appeals to their base, many of them are quite willing to work quietly behind the scenes to see that legislation opposed by moneyed interests never comes to the floor for a vote.
Our government has already moved too far towards becoming a plutocracy, serving the interests of the wealthy at the expense of the common interest. However, one of the great things about our form of government is that, for better or worse, no battle is ever won and done.
As we see with Republican efforts to scale back or do away with Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the minimum wage, collective bargaining rights, and most recently The Affordable Care Act, any legislation that is passed can also be repealed. And the failure to pass legislation in one session of Congress does not preclude its passage in the next.
Sooner or later we may elect a Congress that will address our ongoing problems (most notably, unemployment, climate change, and rising health care costs) in a serious manner. It would be better to elect such a Congress sooner, rather than later, but doing so will not be easy. The K Street lobbyists work 24/7 to influence Congress on behalf of moneyed interests. We need to find, support, and elect representatives who can withstand the pressure.
If we were to embrace truth in advertising within the political realm, the Republican Party would be called “The Corporate Party.” The Democrats, at present, would be “Corporate Lite.” If we, the people want a party that represents the common interest and a Congress worthy of our approval, we need to force the Democratic Party to be true to its supporters.
This will require a three step process. First, give the Democrats solid majorities in both houses of Congress. Secondly, identify (and continue to support) the office holders who adhere to a centrist platform that addresses the problems we face in a pragmatic manner. And finally, replace those who don’t by finding and supporting honest and virtuous candidates who will uphold their constitutional duty to “promote the general welfare.”