Walker Recall Ramifications

Somebody asked whether they should worry that the results of the Walker recall election are an indication of things to come. This was my response:

I’m pretty sure it *is* a precursor. Walker and the Fitzgeralds and the Kochs have demonstrated that by lying about their agenda they can get whomever they want elected; given the right elected officials, they can get whatever they want passed; and once their true colors are seen, enough money means it doesn’t matter what they’ve passed.

The Dems and progressive moneyed interests were foolish not to throw as much money at this election as the conservative moneyed interests did. Even more than a demonstration of a principle, this election has a powerful psychological effect on both sides of this debate. This is the logical conclusion of the GOP strategies identified in What’s the Matter with Kansas, accelerated by Citizens United.

This election was not about whether or not Walker remained in office. It was not about whether it is better to raise taxes or cut spending to balance the budget–or even about whether balancing the budget or stimulating the economy is better. It was about whether or not conservatives can get away with permanently crippling, or even eliminating, unions. Citizens United only has to stand for a few years in order for corporate interests (which are overwhelmingly conservative) to reshape the political landscape in such a way that workers no longer have a political voice. And undoing this, even if we go back to the old rules, would be nigh impossible. At that point, it would probably take banning 3rd-party political ads, banning political contributions (or limiting them to an amount that everyone can afford—say, $50 per person per year (*not* per candidate per person per year)) and/or 100%-public financing of elections, and implementing a truth-in-reporting law like Canada has on news sources—and not just the TV channels. I doubt even *one* of those three options is likely to pass in legislatures heavily slanted in favor of corporations. 

And that’s not even getting into the consequences part of a semi-permanently skewed gov’t. I’m not sure which worries me more: the GOP, with it’s regressive, discriminatory, anti-knowledge, mathematically-unrealistic policies; or corporations, with an understanding of the actual math, but a willingness to ignore it, and an established tendency to see workers and regulations as problems and government as the source of free money (privatized profits, socialized losses).


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