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The Ironically Named “Democratic” Party

For months now, some of us have noticed how thoroughly rigged the democratic presidential primary process has been. Others are too blinded by the fact that the game is rigged in favor of their candidate to notice. I’m going to ask Hillary supporters to set their emotional attachment to Hillary aside and hear me out for about the next five to ten minutes, because I promise you that I have information and empirical evidence of said rigging that will disturb you.

Let’s start with the obvious debate schedule debacle. Here’s a list of both republican and democratic debates (not to be confused with town halls) for this election cycle.

Republican:                                                                      Democratic:

Thursday, August 6th

Wednesday, September 16th

Wednesday, October 28th                                                Tuesday, October 13th

Tuesday, November 10th                                                  Saturday, November 14th

Tuesday, December 15th                                                   Saturday, December 19th (weekend before Christmas)

Thursday, January 14th                                                     Sunday, January 17th (MLK holiday weekend)

Saturday, February 6th                                                      Thursday, February 4th

Saturday, February 13th                                                    Thursday, February 11th

Thursday, February 25th                                                   Sunday, March 6th

Thursday, March 10th                                                        Wednesday, March 9th

Do you notice anything (other than the fact that republicans got to have the national conversation to themselves for nearly 3 months before a single democratic debate happened)? Democrats have only debated on Five nights when a large number of people would actually be watching versus republicans’ eight. There’s a reason why you can’t get into Shondaland on Saturday nights. Larry Wilmore was spot on when he called them “top secret debates”.

Then there’s all the DNC staffers who are moonlighting on Hillary’s campaign, the fact that a lot of Hillary’s campaign headquarters are actually in DNC field offices, and that time when the DNC finance chair got caught throwing a fundraiser for Hillary (thereby breaking DNC rules), and that time back in August when the DNC helped Hillary shore up a huge number of superdelegates before the election had even started. And then there was the data breach. You know, the one where instead of quietly handling it in house, Little Debbie called a press conference to announce that Bernie was a cheater? You know, the one where she never provided the data logs so that we could all see which staffers on both campaigns accessed the two way breach.

That’s all stuff you know, and that some have managed to dismiss. Now for the new information that should infuriate all democrats who value democracy, and feel that voters should pick the party’s presidential nominee.

So apparently back in August, Hillary made deals with thirty-three state parties to create a joint fundraising entity called “The Hillary Victory Fund”.

At this point I have to step back and have a wonky moment, wherein I recap a disastrous 2014 Supreme Court ruling that decimated the few campaign finance laws that were left after Citizen’s United. The case was McCutcheon v FEC. Before the McCutcheon ruling, individuals had an aggregate limit of $123,200 that they could donate. That means that they could give the maximum $2,600 contribution to a number of candidates or federal offices, but the aggregate total of their donations had to be no more than $123,200. There are different caps for different contributions, but those aren’t relevant to this post so you can click on that link if you want that information. The McCutcheon ruling got rid of that aggregate limit, meaning that a rich donor can give the maximum allowable amount to as many candidates, state, and federal parties they want to. So if someone wants to max out their contributions to (say) thirty-three (or fifty) different state democratic party organizations, as well as the DNC, they can do that.

Now back to the The Hillary Victory Fund (although most of you can see where this is going at this point in the post). The legal limit in contributions from an individual to a state democratic party is $10,000 a year. Let’s assume that the thirty three states we know about are the only ones who entered the The Hillary Victory Fund agreement. If each of Hillary’s billionaire donors maxed out their contributions and their spouse’s, that would be $660,000 per year that they contributed to Hillary. The deal was made in 2015, so they have two years worth of caps to max out. That would be 1.3 million dollars from each donor over the course of this primary cycle. By the end of 2015 (4 months after the fund was established), the The Hillary Victory Fund had raised 26 million dollars.

This whole thing is a legal money laundering scheme to funnel money into Hillary’s campaign. According to Counterpunch, the fund is administered by Hillary’s campaign’s COO. She has complete control over the fund and decides how much should go back to the state parties. Since she’s facing a stronger primary challenger than she had originally anticipated, I promise you that most of that money is going into her primary campaign rather than flowing back out to the states. But don’t feel too bad for the state parties that made this pact with her, since she’s going to raise a ton of money for them if she becomes the nominee.

Now at this point, the die hard Hillary supporters are going to assert that I’m practicing a lot of conjecture here. Don’t worry, I’m not done. The Montana Democratic Party entered into this fundraising scheme with Hillary in August of last year. Before the year was up, they had received maximum donations from the creme de la creme of democratic big money donors including: Susie Buell of California, Imaad Zuberi of California, Fred Eychaner of Chicago, Donald Sussman hedgefund manager from New York, Chicago real estate mogul J.B Pritzker, gay rights activist Jon Stryker of NY, NRA and Viacom lobbyist Jeffrey Forbes and entertainment mogul Haim Saban. I checked, and there are no records of contributions from any of these people to the Montana Democratic Party prior to 2015. Coincidentally, many of them donated maximum contributions to the parties for the other thirty-two states involved in The Hillary Victory Fund. That Counterpunch link I posted above goes into many more details about shenanigans in several other states and how they’re playing a shell game with the cash. I highly recommend you read it.

So while Hillary claims to be opposed to Citizen’s United, she’s making deals to reap the benefits of both that ruling and the McCutcheon ruling to rig the primary. Now I understand not wanting to show up to the general election gun fight with a pocket knife, but that’s not what’s happening here. The democratic party apparatchik is deciding for you, who the democratic nominee will be.

When Bernie is asked if he will support down ticket democrats, he’s not being asked so that you have more information. He’s being asked in order to remind the superdelegates and sitting members of congress, where their bread is buttered. I don’t imagine that Bernie has any plans to help blue dog, establishment corporate democrats get elected, nor would I want him to. There have been a few endorsement flips from Hillary to Bernie. Not many, but a few. Hillary doesn’t want to allow a domino effect to happen like it did in 2008, so she needs to use the massive purse strings she holds to reign in anyone who might be thinking about jumping ship.

This whole system stinks and you should agree regardless of who you support. Hillary isn’t going to be running for president forever, so her supporters should be very concerned about who is going to be dished out to them next time.

The most disturbing thing to me about this election cycle, has been watching democrats who used to believe that corporate money is the toxin in our political system, suddenly act like all of  Hillary’s corporate contributions are swell. I imagine that a lot of those people will resume posting articles and memes about the Koch brothers corruption of our politicians after this election is over, and acting like they’ve been on the right side of this issue all along. Or maybe they’re posting them now, alongside their pro Hillary stories, in the most stunning display of cognitive dissonance I’ve even witnessed.  I earnestly don’t understand how that pivot is possible. But honestly, if alarm bells aren’t going off for you over what she’s doing to game the primary, I have no hope for you.

Corporate money in our political system is the number one issue that needs to be addressed. It’s the issue that creates virtually all of the other issues that we have. It’s the reason for climate denial and why we’re so actively participating in the destruction of the planet. It’s the reason for the record breaking income inequality we’re seeing in the US. It’s why we have so many guns with precious little information on who has them. Your kids are literally being gunned down by corporate money in politics. It’s the reason why we have 25% of the world’s prison population. I can go on with a litany of other things, but you get the point. Until we deal with the money issue, we have no hope of dealing with most of the other issues that threaten our lives and livelihoods every single day.

Do I believe a candidate who is exploiting campaign finance laws to legally launder money into her campaign when she says that she wants to get money out of politics? I laugh…… oh how I laugh. I’m not an idiot, and I don’t know why anyone else would be for any candidate. I don’t know what her supporters think they’re going to get from her in exchange for their intelligence, but I hope it’s something good. Maybe a golden unicorn? Make no mistake, you’re going to get what you’ve been getting for decades: guns, prisoners, pollution, and a shrinking paycheck.

If I believed that Hillary was going to make getting corporate money out of politics a top priority, I assure you that I would be supporting her. But that’s simply not the case. Why would you want to fuck with the system that got you in the white house? Especially when you have two generations of your offspring to set up for their time in the white house.

I’m sorry, but I like democracy too much to fall for this shit. I wish that everyone did because other than amending the constitution, Bernie is our last chance to keep the focus on this issue which makes him our last hope of changing it. Fortunately, Bernie has greatly expanded a movement that will outlive him and this election. It is a movement built on the backs of the generation who has been fucked the most by thirty years of corporate rule of government. This is the first, but not the last generation who will make less o money than their parents made. This is a generation whose kids are going to be more fucked than they are, if things don’t change. This is not a generation that’s going to shut up and take it.

The degree to which my generation (Gen X for those who are wondering) got fucked by the corporate takeover of our government is, and should be, the limit of what can be tolerated. The millennials have gotten fucked much harder than even we were. They have every right to fight back, and I’m delighted to see that they’ve correctly identified the problem. They know that Hillary is not a “friendly”.

And after the information contained in this piece, you should too.

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