Disclaimer: As a previously registered republican until 2016, I’m pro-business but I’m also a proponent of business executives paying their fair share in taxes; compensating their employees with a living wage and for them being a constructive member of the US community by not continuing for example, to deny climate change science or to push the USA towards being be an autocracy versus a democracy.
Prior to January 2021, VP Joe Biden, the Democratic Party’s 2020 president elect, had made a herculean effort to reach out to millions of politically disaffected non-college educated blue collar workers who had previously voted in 2016 for the current White House occupant. But according to a democrat, US Representative Debbie Dingell, more needs to be done.
But it’d be great if some of those anti-GOP MAGA Party ads included educating the average worker about how it isn’t the other (fill in the bogeyman) causing most of their financial woes, but corporate executives who’ve been investing in technology advancements while moving jobs overseas for cheap labor while keeping wages stagnant for 5 decades.
Since 2017, GOP operatives have been registering additional non college, working folks in droves in key voting battleground states to add to the GOP’s voting rolls with the hope that these additional voters will help them pull off future wins.
It should be a priority for Democratic Party tacticians to reach out to these voters which means they need to take time to look at the world from their point of view.
Note: This blog is based on 2 previously published posts.
Why is the US average worker so angry?:
As per the EPI Economic Policy Institute, “From WWII Until about 1973, when US corporations’ productivity numbers increased to about 95.65%, the average workers’ pay wages increased to about 91%. There was this consensus that as corporations increased its productivity, revenues, profits, the workers also participated in the division of the spoils.
But after 1973-2008, corporate productivity increased by 77% but workers’ pay increased by only 12.4%.
Since 2008, the lot of average workers in USA didn’t improve. In addition, corporate pensions became extinct like the Dodo bird with anti- union measures being a GOP priority.
As per a 1O/24/2017 HBR article, “Since the early 1970s, the hourly inflation-adjusted wages received by the typical worker have barely risen, growing only 0.2% per year. In other words, though the economy has been growing, the primary way most people benefit from that growth has almost completely stalled.”
And so, over the years, GOP lawmakers continued to cater to rich folks, and the Democrats lost focus in representing the interests of the American labor force, leaving behind a lot of angry, frustrated, average Joe hard working folks who helped build this US economy, and who, frankly, deserve better.
In 2016, the GOP presidential candidate Donald J. Trump cleverly ferreted out this opening created by both US parties, to deliver the biggest political victory/ upset in a century. He did this by resorting to stoking the rage of these blue color, displaced workers with racist/ anti-immigration tropes, encouraging them to blame their financial struggles on the bogeyman (fill in the blank). This allowed him to pull off the most flagrant “bait and switch” con, ever.
During his 4-year tenure, while President Trump has continued to inflame the angst, victimhood club of his adoring, cult-like followers, he has been unilaterally acting in ways that benefit himself and his wealthy friends. He has accomplished virtually nada for the “little guy.”
Meanwhile, from March 2020-now, the ranks of those living in poverty within the USA has increased by 8 million.
With more than 62.8 million votes in 2016, President-elect Trump had managed to win more support in a presidential election than any Republican candidate before him; and the new voters who came on board the GOP train proved to be extremely loyal, to where the GOP moneymen and lawmakers had to play nice with him or risk the wrath of his followers.
And it can be reasonably argued that it was President Trump who delivered on the GOP’s long-held, wish-list goals by passing a huge 2017 tax cut bill to benefit rich dudes like himself along with the deregulation of numerous government rules on businesses and the addition of numerous conservative pro-business justices within the federal judicial system who just happen to also be opposed to women’s abortion rights.
What happened in 1973 to hurt the little guy?
In 1973, ALEC (The American Legislative Exchange Council) was formed by conservative corporate executives, the NRA leaders (National Rifle Association), fossil fuel titans such as Exxon-Mobil and individual powerful conservatives like the Koch brothers along with some similar-minded thinkers, Paul Weyrich, Henry Hyde.
This is when corporate executives started to end the sharing of revenue increases via increased productivity with their workers. They then started to eliminate corporate pension plans plus the dismantling of its unions.
It appears that the current Trumpian GOP political players/ candidates have become so addicted to the free-flowing spigot of lots of monies from GOP dark money conservative ALEC/ Koch type donors, that GOP members fear being cut off from this drug of choice, almost as much as they dread any backlash from MAGA voters.
In 2010, this power of ALEC types increased exponentially with the Supreme Court’s favorable ruling in the Citizens United case, allowing corporations to funnel monies, anonymously, with no limits to political campaigns.
My question is, why aren’t more current media outlets’ attention being shined on how these “dark money (Alec/ Koch/ Federalist Society) rich GOP donors are using their power to keep the president, GOP lawmakers, and those involved in the nomination process of Supreme Court justices on a tight leash? These GOP money bag men make it clear, that it doesn’t pay to buck this system.
Exceptions are journalists like Jane Mayer of the New Yorker who won the 2019 Sydney Hillman Foundation award based on her report, The Making of the Fox News White House. (She’s also the author of 4 best-selling books, including “Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right.)
So, whenever President Trump acts in a way that seems politically clueless, ask how his actions could benefit conservative GOP ALEC type corporate leaders and then, you’ll notice how the dots start to connect, giving credence to the axiom, “follow the money.”
ALEC via one of its political offshoots, the Federalist Society (formed in 1982 and formerly headed by Leonard Leo) has been responsible for insuring that all of the recently appointed Supreme Court justices have been verified to be in favor of anti-abortion laws, and coincidentally, who tend to make decisions in favor of big business interests like ruling to end ACA Affordable Care Act/ Obamacare, as in a case scheduled for review by the Supreme Court on November 10, 2020.
- Americans for Prosperity.
- American Encore.
- Freedom Partners.
- Koch Family Foundations.
- Cato Institute.
- Heritage Foundation.
- Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
- Institute for Humane Studies.
As per Investopedia, com, Koch Brothers own the following corporations:
- Flint Hills Resources. Flint Hills is a fuel-producing company. …
- Georgia-Pacific. …
- Guardian Industries. …
- Invista. …
- Molex. …
- Koch Ag & Energy Solutions. …
- Koch Pipeline Company. …
- Time Inc.
- ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws
- Voter identification
- Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act
- Criminal sentencing and prison management
- Energy and the environment
- Telecommunications and information technology
- Health care
Review of ALEC:
On April 14, 2012, Nancy Scola of the Atlantic penned the following report, “Exposing ALEC: How Conservative-Backed State Laws Are All Connected” (“A shadowy organization uses corporate contributions to sell prepackaged conservative bills — such as Florida’s Stand Your Ground statute — to legislatures across the country.”)
“To itself, ALEC is an organization dedicated to the advancement of free market and limited government principles through a unique “public-private partnership” between state legislators and the corporate sector. To its critics, it’s a shadowy back-room arrangement where corporations pay good money to get friendly legislators to introduce pre-packaged bills in state houses across the country. Started in the mid-1970s, ALEC’s existence has been long known but its practices, largely, have not; the group hasn’t been eager to tie its bills in Wisconsin to those in Ohio to those in NC.”
“(In 2012), a website called ALEC Exposed went live, showcasing more than 800 so-called model bills contributed by, the site’s creators say, a still-anonymous whistleblower. Beyond the bills themselves, the group built out a wide-ranging, sometimes confusing wiki aimed at documenting which legislators take part in the group, which corporations support it, and where the bills go once they leave ALEC.”
“Lisa Graves is executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, the group that built ALEC Exposed. She’s also a former Justice Department official in both the Clinton and Bush administrations. Said Graves on a call this week, “We built out the material using Google, the Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine, primary records that were previously on ALEC’s website, old old Lexis news clips, and the tobacco library,” as in the digital archive run by the University of California of San Francisco as part of the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement of the late ’90s.”
“Having the bills all in one place painted a certain picture. “If it’s voter ID, it’s ALEC,” observed Doug Clopp, deputy director of programs at Common Cause. “If it’s anti-immigration bills written hand-in-glove with private prison corporations, it’s ALEC. If it’s working with the N.R.A. on ‘Shoot to Kill’ laws, it’s ALEC. When you start peeling back state efforts to opt out of the regional greenhouse gas initiative, it’s ALEC.” Adopted first in the states, by the time these laws bubble up to the national level, they’re the conventional wisdom on policy.”
“For years, political types had vague notions of the state-to-state connections, but it was difficult to see the whole picture. ALEC Exposed launched with a series of companion articles in The Nation, detailing not only the bills themselves but the involvement of the Koch brothers, early ALEC funders. Graves said she was eager to avoid the fate of past interest group reports that focused on ALEC then sat on shelves, unread. ““I know the only way that we could possibly tell the story of this corporate bill mill across 50 states was to use, in essence, crowdsourcing that engaged other journalists, citizens, researchers, and writers.”
One group that decided to jump into the mix was ColorofChange.org. The organization is known for its mastery of online organizing. The ALEC Exposed research was eye-opening, said ColorofChange.org executive director Rashad Robinson. ColorofChange.org took particular offense at the spate of voter ID laws that had originated within ALEC. It focused its efforts at peeling off the corporations taking part in the group.
“In early December 2012, ColorofChange.org sent out an email to its membership list. “It read, “the right wing has been trying to stop Black people, other people of color, young people, and the elderly from voting for partisan gain — and now some of America’s biggest companies are helping them do it.” The missive introduced how ALEC works, detailing the spread of voter ID laws through dozens of states.”
“ColorofChange.org came up with a strategy. It would start by meeting face-to-face with corporations to explain to them why their participation in ALEC was troublesome. Some companies made the case, said Robinson, that they were simply dedicated to making sure all viewpoints were represented in public debates. “There’s no two sides to black people voting,” Robinson said.”
“For months, things rolled along that way. Pepsi dropped out of ALEC. ColorofChange.org used that move to try to persuade Coca-Cola.”
“In January 2012, the push against ALEC got a small bump when Republican Florida state legislator Rep. Rachel Burgin submitted a bill calling for the federal government to cut corporate tax rates. Burgin had forgotten to strip the ALEC boilerplate from its top. Whereas, it read, “it is the mission of the American Legislative Exchange Council,” so on and so forth. Burgin yanked the bill back a day later, but it was too late. Common Cause researcher Nick Surgey posted about it on the organization’s blog. It got picked up in social media and on cable news.”
Then, on February 26th of 2012, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot.
“But this wasn’t just about Trayvon Martin. At some point the discussion pulled back from just Martin to the “Stand Your Ground” law that let (George) Zimmerman go (*free). Upon examination, it turned out that this wasn’t just Florida; Stand Your Ground had passed elsewhere. “There was a mystery (as to ) how did this bill become a law in more than 24 states?”