Saturday, February 23, 2013

Not so crazy

Sometimes it seems like most Republican politicians are flat-out crazy, since every single day brings news of yet another one doing something that’s, well, crazy. “Crazy like a fox” is often more accurate.

Today ThinkProgress published a piece about a Republican state representative in Montana who introduced a bill to allow corporations to vote in local elections. Yes, seriously.

To mainstream people, this might seem insane, or, at the very least, taking Mitt Romney’s famous declaration, “Corporations are people, my friend” WAY too far. Yet there’s a method in this seeming madness: Power.

It turns out the state rep had been on the “Public Safety and Elections Task Force” of the notorious rightwing group ALEC, before the group disbanded it. That task force was the birthplace of the voter suppression legislation Republicans introduced in state legislatures around the country.

So, this guy’s new bill is just part of the same rightwing agenda: Stop ordinary people from voting and advance the interests of the rich and corporate elites.

The rightwing in the US is infected with the worldview of Ayn Rand, whose glorification of selfishness above all else led to the rightwing bleating on about “Makers” (them) and “Takers” (all the rest of us). To the right, we’re all “moochers” sucking “their” money from them through taxes to pay for “free” things.

The only way for the right to ensure their selfishness is rewarded is to deny any voice to mainstream voters. They try to do this, first, through voter suppression: Keep ordinary people from voting, especially Democrats, and their side can win elections. Then, give corporations a vote so they’ll get to dominate local politics, too, ensuring that the taxes the rich pay are cut and cities will stop paying for frivolous things like sewage systems, clean water, roads, and so on.

All of this is also related to the Republican proposal to change the way Electoral College votes are allocated in some US states (only those that lean Democratic, of course, which I wrote about last month). That plan, together with voter suppression and allowing corporations to vote could ensure that they win elections they’d lose without the chicanery. If that happened, they could further cement their power, transforming themselves from “Makers” into our masters, and us into their servants.

Fortunately, it’s not easy to destroy democracy, and significant pushback has slowed the rightwing down: The Electoral College plot seems to have died, some of their union-busting efforts have failed, ALEC had to close down their voter suppression efforts and that Montana Republican’s bill was tabled. All of those victories for common sense, mainstream people and democracy itself are only temporary: The rightwing will try again, and they may eventually succeed on some or all of their agenda.

There’s still time to save democracy by voting them out of office—while it’s still possible to do so. However, the rightwing is patient and will bide its time, relying on both the inattention and the apathy of mainstream voters. So, guys like that Montana Republican aren’t really so crazy after all. Are we?

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