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Conservative Oligarchs Declare War on Democracy: Their Brazen New Ploy Reveals Their True Motives

Foster Fries, Sheldon Adelson (Credit: AP/Dennis Van Tine/Keith Srakocic)
Foster Fries, Sheldon Adelson (AP/Dennis Van Tine/Keith Srakocic)

(Salon) – According to a recent batch of polling from the New York Times and CBS, hating the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision is one of the precious few things on which nearly all Americans — Republicans, Democrats, conservatives and liberals — can agree. For example, a whopping 84 percent of Americans believe money has “too much” influence over political campaigns; and while you’d expect to hear that sentiment from Democrats, no fewer than 80 percent of Republicans agree. In our increasingly polarized era, you don’t see unanimity like that very often.

Now, in an ideal representative democracy, that kind of clear and overwhelming majority would lead to some legislative responses. And they wouldn’t be symbolic ones; they’d have real teeth. Since the United States is most certainly not an ideal representative democracy, however, that hasn’t happened. Yes, there have been some great state-level campaigns to try to stem the tide of plutocracy. But the reaction from Washington, D.C., has been muted. From all indications, in fact, the Supreme Court’s preference is to make the mess it made with Citizens United somehow even worse.

In short, the principle of democracy does not appear to be especially inspiring to many of America’s most powerful operators. But while elite fear and distrust of the masses is nothing new, what’s becoming increasingly clear, as the 2016 presidential campaign lumbers on, is that this honoring of democracy in the breach is being normalized. And I’m not just talking about the way the media has made mega-donors like Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers, and Foster Friess celebrities, either. The anti-democratic spirit now infects what is supposed to be the apotheosis of American democracy: the presidential race.

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