I hear a lot of talk about Trump being an existential threat to the Republic, and I wonder where these people have been since the 1990s. The Republic isn’t. Hasn’t been since at least the invention of K-Street, the unraveling of campaign finance reform, and Citizens United. What we have now is a corporate oligarchy, operated by crony capitalists and lobbyists. Here’s how it works:
Reps need money for reelection.
Reps get money from lobbyists.
Lobbyists write the laws.
Laws concentrate the money.
It’s the world’s greatest return on investment, and the wealth gap grows.
Outside of some media zombification, that’s the length and breadth of our actual system. The rest of it, including in most cases the ballot box, is window dressing. Most reps don’t even read the bills they vote on, most reps who back bills don’t write the bills themselves, and the whole thing is done in the back room by the lobbyists. This is why the ACA and the AHCA looked so similar. They were both written by the same people. Different “parties,” same authors. Lobbying is a great vicious cycle of wealth concentration, with both parties on the take as each try and outspend the other on “campaigning.” Also known as marketing. I live in the Georgia 6th District. Our recent runoff election cost about as much money in marketing as was spent for the entire UK Parliament race.
So did Putin influence the election? We’d be naïve to think he wouldn’t, in our money-for-power system. Hillary was a chief architect of the USA’s strategy in Syria, which has left half a million people dead and displaced ten million more into Europe. She saw our intervention in Libya, an abject failure by any humanitarian or strategic standard, as her greatest success and rolled the same playbook out against Assad, funneling whatever of Ghadaffi’s arms that didn’t end up in the hands of ISIS in Africa to rebels in Syria associated with Al Nusra Front, aka Al Qaeda in Syria. I can only presume we did this out of a policy of Cold War style Russian containment, since it clearly isn’t doing the Syrian people any good. A decade ago, tourism was 14% of their GDP. Now, not so much. But let’s not kid ourselves, Putin doesn’t care about the Syrian people any more than Hillary does. He’s worried about his military base there. You know, “warm water ports” and all. Did we really think he would stand by and let US backed Jihadis unravel his neighboring vassal state?
I would guess Putin shifted his influence-buying after he failed to gain further traction when the Russians paid Bill Clinton a half million dollars to speak to an empty room in Moscow, after Hillary bent the government to approve the now infamous uranium transfer, to say nothing of the Kremlin’s additional, extensive, deep ties to the Democrats, including the Podesta Group.
And that brings me around to my point. We were doomed to a “bought presidency” no matter who won this year. Certainly Trump is an influence peddler, all land developers are, but we also know that the Clinton Foundation itself was an influence peddling machine. Direct evidence aside, there’s a reason all those foreign nations quit making donations on November 12th.
The nice thing about the Trump win, as far as influence peddling goes, is the media is willing to cover it, instead of covering it up. Hopefully, four years of constant bombardment of this narrative can wake people up to the money-to-governance pipeline by the time 2020 rolls around, and they have their eyes open for it in the next cycle. It might, maybe, even scare the Democrats away from nominating someone within the Clinton Machine three years from now. One can only hope.
* Courtney Camp is a Georgian willing to vote for either major party if they finally float a candidate worth voting for. This is Camp’s third article for Being Libertarian.
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