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Tuesday, July 9, 2024

How we got here

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse tells it like it is: 'one crew, one plan, one cancer in the body politic'

Daily Kos

Below is an unrolled string of tweets from Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse about our political predicament. More of our Senators should be talking like this and joining Whitehouse’s relentless attacks on the corruption and authoritarianism eating away at democracy. 

In my impossible fantasies, the bulk of Democratic Senators would sign onto Whitehouse’s take here and submit it as an Op-Ed to The Washington Post. But that, of course, isn’t going to happen.

Here’s Whitehouse in full. (If you prefer, you can read it at X/Twitter. )

Our current situation should give Dems a rejuvenating chance to focus better on fixing what’s gone wrong in America.

We face three huge threats: persistent internal attacks on our democracy, unbridled climate upheaval, and a captured Court with some deeply corrupt justices

Behind each threat is dark money; massive anonymous political spending by special interests who hide their identities from the public.

The political class has reoriented itself to this new reality, pivoting to the big secret spenders. Voters notice they’re not so important anymore.

An entire dark-money ecosystem has been spawned, with front groups, ‘Donors Trusts,’ coordinating 501c3s and c4s, and superPACs.

This whole filthy bestiary of influence is new (or refocused and expanded) since Citizens United. It didn’t used to be this way; it doesn’t have to be this way.

Democrats keep voting to get rid of dark money, and Republicans keep voting to protect dark money, but voters have no idea. We basically haven’t told them.

Which is pathetic because voters hate dark money with a passion, Republicans, independents and Democrats alike. Polling is off the charts.

(When done, that is; too often pollsters blow the dust each year off their polling questions from the ‘90s and this question doesn’t get asked!)

Climate change is out of control because of a massive dark-money politics and propaganda operation run by the fossil fuel industry.

Before Citizens United, climate was a bipartisan concern (see McCain 2008 platform); fossil-fuel dark money killed bipartisanship.

The Court was captured by a dark-money operation funded by creepy polluter billionaires and managed by their creepy minion Leonard Leo.

The ‘amenable’ justices are instructed via coordinated flotillas of dark-money amici curiae, with correlation near perfect between instruction and result.

Republicans are complicit in all this because the dark money behind these schemes is also the dark money billions behind their political operations.

It’s a trifecta; dark money is behind climate denial, Court capture and corruption of Congress — one crew, one plan, one cancer in the body politic.

Democrats should be blowing the whistle on the whole dark-money rot.It explains so much, it has obvious villains, and it has the added benefit of being true.

We are in a war for our future and we should behave that way.

Working out the details of that behavior should be a paramount priority.