A true tale with foreboding for the 2016 election.
From politico.com comes the story of how Joni Ernst became the darling of the Koch brothers and how they disguise their involvement through layers of operatives:
Until now, little has been known about the secretive role played by the Kochs’ donors and operatives in boosting Ernst. The Koch network has focused primarily on policy fights, mostly leaving the spadework of recruiting and nurturing candidates to the party.
But the network’s financial support for Ernst ― detailed here for the first time ― offers the first signs of a move into GOP primaries. The Kochs and their allies are investing in a pipeline to identify, cultivate and finance business-oriented candidates from the local school board all the way to the White House, and Koch operatives are already looking for opportunities to challenge GOP incumbents deemed insufficiently hard-line in their opposition to government spending and corporate subsidies.
The ambitious effort, spearheaded partly by a for-profit consulting firm called Aegis Strategic that’s backed by the Koch network, is one of several ways in which the brothers and their allies are seeking to influence the types of candidates who carry the GOP banner. The network has taken on a vetting role in the GOP presidential primary, offering favored candidates access to its donors and activists. And some within the network have even advocated targeting from six to 12 GOP House members who have run afoul of the Koch orthodoxy on fiscal issues and who are facing 2016 primary challenges, sources told POLITICO.
In the Ernst race, the Koch support included hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of television ads funded by undisclosed donors and tens of thousands of dollars in direct campaign contributions. The spending would have been difficult to trace back to the Koch network during Ernst’s campaign, but details are expected to emerge this week when the central Koch nonprofit, Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, files its tax disclosures.
Below is the youtube video of Ernst’s participation in a Koch sponsored senate candidates panel. The transcript is found here.
Throughout the story and the video, there is little doubt that the Koch brothers will use their money to change the USA from a democracy to a form of government controlled by those with the means to pump vast amounts of money into the process or an oligarchy. For them it is not a patriotic gesture, but an investment. They have already spent massive millions through various front organizations and have announced they intend now to spend billions. But though they will spend billions they can expect a return on investment of even more billions.
The Kochs are certainly not the only rich people with a desire to control the the most powerful nation in history through the investment in political candidates. Many pundits have noted that the current Republican debates have less to do with informing the public and much more to do with the individual candidates selling themselves to a rich backer such as the Kochs, Shelly Adelson or Peter Singer.
As noted by Iowa’s experience, even though a candidate holds truly anti-people positions, packaging and advertising and great television presence are much more important than policy. As our junior senator works on destroying Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA and pensions, few Iowans will even notice because we will be treated to carefully choreographed public appearances and TV ads that will tout Ernst as an “All-American Girl.”
Let what happened to Bruce Braley be a guide to what could happen across the US next year from the county to the White House. There will be a huge amount of money to pave over the negative aspects of candidates while leaving any policy positions left unspoken. The constant barrage of meaningless ads will be hard to beat. The money from many billionaires will be combined with one goal: electing representatives, senators and a president that will deliver government for the rich.
If this happens, America will finally be totally divided into the haves and have-nots. All the work that went into slowly evolving a real democracy for all will have been squashed in less than a generation with a few people with lots of money and their willing stooges.
Just to hedge their bets because they can’t buy elections outright, the wealthy have had their stooges work on fixing elections for decades. Last week’s outcome in Kentucky was a fine example of that. If you can’t control elections through a simple purchase, then you make it really hard for your opposition to vote. When they do vote, the districts are so gerrymandered as to make their chances of winning slim. And of course when all else fails, the old standby of easily hackable electronic voting machines can still deliver an election in the pinch.