With Super PACs, democrats, as a party personified by the Clinton campaign (because the media pushes personality-driven campaigns), are no less guilty of abusing their awesome powers than are republicans. The Jeb political apparatus has announced raising over $100 million so far, and, practically bragged about the lack of required independence from his Right to Rise Super PAC (legally an independent expenditure committee) by reporting for them that 95% of the contributions were from donors giving less than $25,000. Yes, for the Bush juggernaut, a gift of an amount just a little over the 2015 national poverty level for a family of four is the sort of donation you see in a “grassroots” campaign. This isn’t grassroots fundraising, it’s oligarchical influence peddling – an astroturf campaign not a grassroots one. That a person may spend an amount roughly equal to the amount at which a family of four is considered impoverished, and at which 14.5% of the American population lives, and this be considered a modest contribution to a republican candidate for president makes manifest, probably better than any other factoid, the economic, political and social inequality of our nation, and how politicians benefit from this inequality. The system is sick, to the point of being so stuffed with cash that it is vomiting it up at us already – using the cash to hide how corporate our politics have become.
The democratic base being more wary of the corrupting influence of Big Money in politics, Hillary Clinton has portrayed her main “independent” yet connected Super PAC, Correct the Record, as a noble research and educational enterprise, combatting the false accusations of republican candidates, of which there are plenty (both false accusations and republican candidates). But the educational enterprise is not limited to putting out “political fact-checking” in media and emails – Philip Rucker of the Washington Post reports that CTR has been holding “educational” sessions with rank-and-file supporters, not just operatives and organizers, to hone their message to set talking points when “canvassing” and talking with others about Clinton.
This sort of uniformity of message evidences the corporatizing of our politics. Gone are nuanced perspectives on a candidate (I should, and I do, have plenty of criticisms for my preferred candidate, Sanders, and so should Clinton supporters) and in are circulated memos about what are the set policies and procedures for supporting a candidate. The process of supporting and feeling something about a candidate and their vision is streamlined and commodified for efficient dispersal, never mind that some of these genuine feelings will become muted by and eventually lost due to this emphasis on uniformity of thought.
Perhaps more importantly, by telling supporters how to talk to others about Clinton, CTR “educators” are actually coaching those supporters on what to think about Clinton themselves, closing the door on discussions between activists who might organize to influence her platform. In effect, CTR is curtailing the need for Clinton to listen to supports and be a true representative. This inversion amounts to a perversion of democracy – rather than Clinton representing her supporters, her supporters represent Clinton, as is, no changes. Clinton needs to hear from and become wise to popular opinions opposed to trade pacts that harm the non-wealthy and benefit corporations, and her neoliberal (“hawkish”) war-mongering for empire expansion that, likewise, harms the global poor and benefits only the military-industrial complex. That Clinton is keen to use purchased power for anti-democratic means should make it quite clear that we should not elect her president.
There, I said it.