Most Americans think that the power structure of the government and the country is pretty much what is described in the Constitution. The people are the sovereign, the final deciders. Through their votes they choose the President as the head of the government, the chief enforcer of laws. Congress making laws and holding the purse strings. The Supreme Court as the interpreter of laws and the Constitution. State governments are generally below the national government, although not in every instance. Below that are the various local governments. Below that are those who are governed which includes corporations and individuals.
This is what has been traditionally taught in school and seems to be what best lines up with the intention of the constitution. This model also lines up with what the Democratic Party practices generally.
But in practice the Republican Party seems to have an upside-down view of this structure. While they will mouth the platitudes of ‘people are the final say’ in practice their power structure begins with corporations and those with money at the top. That is to say, the real power in the Republican Party belongs to those who have money. They do not exercise this power generally out in the open. Were they to do so would probably cause an open revolt by the citizenry. No, much better to work behind the scenes and direct others to actually do the deeds desired by those directing things. Nor can they be seen to actually be taking an active part in directing activities. Think of a drug kingpin or the old time bootleggers. While there was a structure at top that directed activities, it was nearly impossible to actually connect the kingpin with the crimes. There was a layer or two between the real power and the actual deeds.
So between the top where directions come from and the politicians who actually do the deeds are a layer of go-betweens. They still have more power than the directed politicians, but are definitely at the beholding of those with the money. This role is ably filled by a variety of groups. I will take a shot here at naming the ones I think are the most recognizable. Therefore this list may not be complete.
First are the lobbyists. While many groups have lobbyists including such groups as environmentalist and educators, the lobbyists employed by the rich and the corporate world play a bit of a different role. They are able to deliver the oil that the machinery of elections run on – money – in the form of campaign contributions. That is provided that they get what they want. They deliver the money and the message from above.
Also among the go-betweens are the media, which is almost totally corporate owned in this country. The media in the Republican set-up creates a friendly environment for the rich to pass their message down to the peons. The people are the low rung for Republicans, and are to be used only for the purpose of pretending there is support among the masses for policies that actually hurt them. The other purpose of the media is to convey to politicians what acceptable stances are for them to convey to the masses.
Also in this layer are the religionists – those who tie the message from the rich to the supposed desire of God. The religionists can stir up the religious masses and pass the party line down to them. Using an afterlife as leverage, they control a rather rabid group of followers. Because they can produce votes and protesters, they have the ear of politicians and are often used to convey the message from above to the politicians.
Finally is the group known as ALEC. This is one that the rich are involved with themselves. Given that the rich are publicity shy, it is not surprising that we have only recently learned of this groups shenanigans. Working shoulder to shoulder with politicians, the rich can let the politician know then and there just what is acceptable.
The third layer of power in the Republican Party is the politicians themselves. Note that while our constitution gives the President and Congress powers, in the Republican Party, they are beholden to wealth. Why? Because our current election forces candidates to raise huge amounts of money which will come mostly from the wealthy. Republicans would never get elected on their ideas alone. Honestly, how many would vote for a party that wants to end Social Security and Medicare if they weren’t conditioned by advertisements and a captive media plus perhaps their own clergy to believe ending SS and Medicare were a good idea? Therefore, the politicians must “play ball,” or submit to the moneyed class.
The next to the bottom group is those who own real small businesses and farmers. Much like the bottom group, the workers, this group is used mainly as fodder to fight the battles of the rich. With small business owners, the rich can claim some parallel purpose for their policies, even though most of the policies that the rich espouse usually end up hurting the small businessman and farmer. Anyone ever hear of someone losing a business or a farm because of tight money?
Finally the very lowest group is workers and the poor of all stripes. It is amazing that any worker would ever vote for a Republican considering the scorn that is openly shown by that party for them. Yet vote for them they do. Most of this can be attributed, I believe, to the constant bombardment of one-sided propaganda by the media and the help of the religionists instilling the fear of God into workers and the poor. This year the Republicans have made an actual show of how little they think of workers – especially union workers – and the poor. Yet you can bet some will continue to vote for Republican
/ GOVERNORS – STATE LEG
/ STATE SUPREME COURTS
/ FARMERS – SMALL BUSINESSES
/ WORKERS, POOR, UNIONS, GOV’T
/ WORKERS, OTHERS