United States presidential election, democracy or plutocracy?

This 2014 video from the USA is called Proof The US Is An Oligarchy, Not A Democracy

Look at corporate money in politics.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

US presidential campaign begins: A travesty of democracy

11 April 2015

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, will formally announce her candidacy on Sunday. With a dozen candidates having announced or begun fundraising in the contest for the Republican nomination, Clinton’s official entry into the race marks the de facto beginning of the 2016 US presidential election campaign.

What will unfold over the next 19 months is a travesty of democracy. The American financial aristocracy will select the candidates of the two big-business parties, using its vast wealth and control of the media. This will culminate on November 8, 2016, when the voters will be given the “choice” between two individuals with nearly identical right-wing views, committed to the defense of Wall Street’s interests at home and abroad.

A staggering amount of money is required to be considered a “viable” presidential candidate. Ultra-right Texas Senator Ted Cruz vaulted onto that list by raising $31 million in the first week after announcing his candidacy. Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, brother and son of former presidents, reportedly plans to raise $100 million in the April-June quarter alone, even before announcing his campaign for the Republican nomination.

By one published estimate, Hillary Clinton will raise and spend between $1.5 billion and $2 billion in the primary and general election campaigns, twice the amount Barack Obama and Mitt Romney each spent in 2012.

To raise these vast sums, all potential presidents must thus pass through a screening process that involves a few thousand billionaires and near-billionaires. According to a revealing report in the Washington Post last week, so-called bundlers who played a vital role in earlier campaigns by combining donor checks into bundles totaling $100,000 or more are now generally ignored by the top candidates. Their cash input is considered insignificant compared to what the “super-PACs” can obtain in one check from billionaires such as the Koch brothers, Sheldon Adelson and George Soros.

The financial oligarchy selects the possible candidates, a process now referred to as the “invisible primary,” and puts them through their paces, using various media-generated attacks and pseudo-scandals to determine which ones are best able to shake off external pressures, ignore public opinion and do the bidding of their corporate masters.

Those selected are invariably right-wing, reliable defenders of corporate America, usually themselves millionaires or multimillionaires. On the Republican side, the announced or likely candidates include four US senators—Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Lindsey Graham—and numerous governors and former governors, including Bush, Scott Walker of Wisconsin, Chris Christie of New Jersey, Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.

The Republican Party has moved so far to the right that Jeb Bush, who viciously attacked public education and supported the ultra-right campaign over the comatose Terri Schiavo, is now regarded as the leading “moderate.” His main competition for that role is Christie, promoted by the media as a “moderate” despite his savage attacks on social services and bullying of teachers and other public employees.

Those based primarily on ultra-right Tea Party and Christian fundamentalist elements include Cruz, who provoked a partial shutdown of the federal government in 2013, and Rand Paul, who recently called for a $190 billion increase in military spending.

Those appealing to both the ultra-right and the Republican establishment include Rubio, set to announce Monday, and Scott Walker. The Wisconsin governor, now running even or ahead of Bush in most polls, is best known for his attack on public employees in Wisconsin, which provoked a stormy mass movement in 2011.

While the American media—itself owned by giant corporations or billionaires like Rupert Murdoch—will portray the 2016 presidential as an exercise in democracy, the US political system can be more accurately described, paraphrasing Abraham Lincoln, as government “of the billionaires, by the billionaires and for the billionaires.”

There is little or no correlation between the political sentiments of the working people who constitute the vast majority of the American population and the policies advocated by the Democratic and Republican candidates for president.

By large margins, even in opinion polls conducted by the corporate-controlled media, the American people support sharp increases in taxes on the wealthy to fund social programs and provide jobs for the unemployed; they oppose cuts in Social Security and Medicare and view education, health care and other public services as basic rights; they oppose government spying on the telephone and Internet usage of ordinary Americans, as well as other police-state measures; and they oppose overseas military interventions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The Democratic and Republican presidential candidates stand on the other side of the barricades on all these issues.

The electoral process effectively excludes any candidates who challenge the capitalist system. Tens of millions of working people support measures that can be achieved only through a struggle for socialism. But the political monopoly of the two-party system prevents any consideration of such policies.

This political straitjacket has become increasingly intolerable. There are many signs of growing popular disaffection, from declining voter turnout to widespread support for courageous opponents of the emerging police state such as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, the outbreak of strikes despite the efforts of the trade unions, and the wave of protests over police murders.

THE 158 FAMILIES WHO HAVE FUNDED HALF OF THE 2016 RACE SO FAR Investing over $176 million to date. [NYT]

Marco Rubio Tells Donors He’s Running For President: here.

Reports filed earlier this month with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) confirm that the US political system is completely dominated by the super-rich. The figures are so staggering, and so at odds with the conventional claims that the United States is a democracy, that even the corporate-controlled media has been compelled to take notice: here.

Scott Walker’s tenure as governor has been an unmitigated disaster. Here‘s the latest proof.

KOCH BROTHERS PICK THEIR 2016 CANDIDATE Christmas came early for Scott Walker. The news comes as the candidate is tacking hard right on immigration. [Reuters]

KOCH BROTHERS CLARIFY FIVE 2016 CANDIDATES IN RUNNING FOR PRIMARY MONEY Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are all in contention for the Koch’s primary funds. [USA Today]

THE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES WITH THE MOST CASH Jeb Bush is leading fundraising totals, while Bernie Sanders and Ben Carson are cleaning up among small donors. [NYT]

USA: Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves. Out of America: In the 2014 congressional mid-terms, parties and candidates spent $3.7bn. This time, with the White House at stake, the figure will be far higher: here.

The unholy alliance between Fox News and the 1 percent can no longer stand. Wall Street and religious right were a winning team — for the rich. Now evangelicals want their share. Look out: here.

POWERLESSNESS AND THE AMERICAN PEOPLE “The companies we work for, the businesses we buy from, and the political system we participate in all seem to have grown less accountable. I hear it over and over: They don’t care; our voices don’t count. A large part of the reason is we have fewer choices than we used to have. In almost every area of our lives, it’s now take it or leave it.” [HuffPost]

TRAIL TO THE CHIEF: 2016 GAFFE EDITION From Jeb on Iraq to Hillary’s “dead broke,” all the candidate slip-ups so far in the cycle. [Howard Fineman, Jason Linkins and Lauren Weber, HuffPost]

WHEN SUPER MONEY UNITES “Historically, the Koch network and Adelson have had different top-line priorities. Kochworld has focused largely on domestic matters, with a particular emphasis on shrinking the federal government and minimizing regulatory and tax burdens on businesses. Adelson’s primary interests, meanwhile, have long been Israel, expanding defense spending and hawkish foreign policy in general. But the megadonors, conservatives say, share a number of political and ideological concerns. They have certain aims in common, from curbing union power and killing estate taxes to developing better voter-data operations and mobilizing veterans to vote.” [Peter Stone, HuffPost]

Donald Trump declares candidacy for 2016 presidential race: here.

Republican presidential hopeful Jeb Bush announced Wednesday that his campaign raised more than $114 million in the first half of the year, the largest amount ever amassed by a candidate so many months before the general election: here.

BREAKING DOWN THE 2016 MONEY SO FAR “Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton led their respective parties in fundraising from July through September, according to reports filed with the Federal Election Commission on Thursday. Clinton led all the 2016 candidates, with $29.9 million raised. Carson pulled in $20 million, but he wasn’t the second-best fundraiser. That position belongs to the other top Democratic candidate, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), who raised $26 million over the period.” Here’s who is running out of cash, and a breakdown of how much each candidate has spent so far. [Paul Blumenthal, HuffPost]

51 thoughts on “United States presidential election, democracy or plutocracy?

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  17. Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, and Hillary Clinton all have Super PACs to raise unlimited amounts of money to support their campaigns. They’re funded by millionaires, billionaires, and even some corporations.

    We don’t want any part of that. Bernie’s not going to have a Super PAC.

    But we do want to build a Super PACK of supporters—folks who give a monthly contribution to our campaign, even if it’s just a couple bucks.

    Click here to join Bernie’s Super PACK with a $3 monthly contribution to our campaign.

    When you join Bernie’s Super PACK, we’ll also send you this great sticker so you can let your friends and neighbors know how you’re taking on the billionaires.
    Bernie’s Super PACK: Founding Member

    Monthly contributions are so critical to our campaign. The reason we’re asking you to give monthly is because it gives Bernie’s campaign a sustained, predictable source of revenue.

    Knowing that every month we’ll be able to count on contributions from our Super PACK means that we can build the organization we need to win.

    The billionaire class shouldn’t be able to buy our democracy. But they’re trying. So far, Super PACs have raised nearly $300 million, according to the New York Times. Most of that money comes from some of the wealthiest people in America.

    In fact, donations from fewer than 400 families account for half of the total money raised so far for the presidential election. Thanks to the disastrous Citizens United Supreme Court decision, there are even shell corporations donating more than a million dollars a piece to support candidates on both sides of the aisle!

    We may not have the billionaire class or shadowy corporations, but we have you, Linda.

    Can you join Bernie’s Super PACK with a contribution of $3 a month?

    Thanks for standing with us as we build our campaign.

    – Team Bernie


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