Read this, from Nicholas Confessore at the New York Times, and weep in (choose one or all) agony, rage, horror, grief:
The Republican donors who have financed the party’s vast outside-spending machine are turning against the consultants and political strategists they once lavished with hundreds of millions of dollars.
In recent months, they have begun holding back checks from Republican “super PACs” like American Crossroads, unsatisfied with the groups’ explanations for their failure to unseat President Obama or win back the Senate. Others, less willing than in the past to defer to the party elders and former congressional staff members who control the biggest groups, are demanding a bigger voice in creating strategy in exchange for their continued support.
“People are really drawn to the Koch model,” said Anthony Scaramucci, a New York hedge fund investor and Republican fund-raiser, who attended the Kochs’ annual donor conference near Palm Springs, Calif., [a/k/a Neu Wannsee Conference] in January. “It’s adaptive, data-driven, and they are the most propitious capital allocators in political activism.”
The quiet revolt signals a broader shift in the world of big money. Clubs of elite donors in both parties are taking a more central role in shaping policy and campaigns, displacing party leaders and the outside-spending organizations they helped create after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010. And the sheer scale of their spending is almost certain to rewrite the playbook for political campaigns this year, as candidates reckon with the strongly held views of some of the world’s wealthiest people.
“Adaptive.” “Data-driven.” “Most propitious capital allocators in political activism.” What the fuck? Is this mechanistic jargon supposed to impress us? “Oh, gee, adaptive and data-driven and most propitious blah blah…well, I’m going to vote for these guys. Oh. Wait. I can’t vote for these guys. They’re not running for office. They’re not asking for my vote. They’re buying my vote.”
This is an attempted coup d’état by a group of the richest men on the planet who fully intend to replace our complicated, often frustrating democracy with a simple kind of what-me-worry government: kleptocracy.
The title of the article makes it sort of clear: Big-Money Donors Demand Larger Say in Campaign Strategy – NYTimes.com. Except that they are not just demanding a larger say; they are the say. And the piece goes into great detail about the spidery network of “non-profits” that intend not only to heavily influence political campaigns but to buy them outright.
As far as a consumer boycott goes, it’ll be difficult to touch most of these people; they got rich through hedge funds, and other elite financial cabals. (Except for John Schnatter’s Papa John’s. Why is anyone buying anything from this character? The NFL should be rejecting him as a sponsor.] It’d take someone far better versed in finance — and more conspiracy-minded than I am — to figure out how to bring them down.
But this time we are more than 6 million. And this time, we are warned and are armed: we vote. And we’d better.
UPDATE on Papa John’s, 2/112015. Take a look at this piece of news, as posted on DailyKos: Papa John’s in NYC owes nearly $800,000 in unpaid wages.
To be really really fair, it ain’t John himself — a Koch acolyte — who hasn’t paid those wages; it’s one of his francisees.