WHAT TO WATCH FOR IN THIS ELECTION
Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are getting most of the media attention in this frantic, frazzled presidential race. “Trump and Hillary are taking up all the oxygen, but really policymaking is getting done in the states,” says Nick Rathod, head of SiX (State Innovation Exchange).
Democrats should be on the alert. Since 2010, Democrats lost 913 states legislative seats. Republicans now control 68 of America’s 99 state legislatures—“more than at any time in our history,” according to Jim Hightower, September 2016 LOWDOWN.
There is much more to watch. Charles and David Koch have nearly one billion dollars to spend. They originally planned to spend it on the Republican presidential candidate.
However, the Kochs are not fond of Trump so guess where they are using their billion dollars: on state and local elections. Their dark money is channeled into races of state legislators, attorneys general, judges and secretaries of state. The Kochs have hired 1600 political staffers in 38 states to drive elections and policy campaigns. In our area, Americans for Prosperity has its own office in Weston.
Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) found 58 Koch-funded candidates for state legislative seats in five states: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas and Wisconsin. The GOP controls the governor’s office and both legislative chambers in 23 states.
These states are following the playbook written by ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and funded by the Koch brothers. This is how the Koch money is spent through ALEC:
1. The Kochs placed their own lobbyist on ALEC’s corporate board.
2. Five Koch-funded groups are active participants in ALEC, including: Americans for Prosperity, State Policy Network which is a think-tank found in all 50 states), Heartland Institute, Mercatus Center and the Texas Public Policy Foundation.
3. In the past 20 years, Koch-controlled nonprofit foundations put $23 million into ALEC and these sponsoring groups.
4. In the past 14 years, two dark money funds –Donors Trust and Donors Capital Fund—sponsored by the Kochs put $77 million into ALEC.
For a long time, Kochs have planned for a Constitutional Convention of the U.S. to re-write our nation’s fundamental governing document by adding a balanced budget amendment and eight other amendments. These changes would give corporations complete control of the U.S. Such a convention is permitted under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
It takes 34 states to convene an Article V convention. Twenty-eight states have already passed resolutions to do that. Only 6 more states are needed for this convention to actually take place.
Even the late Phyllis Schlafly thought the convention was a bad idea. She called it “a prescription for political chaos. Alas, I don’t see any George Washingtons, James Madisons, Ben Franklins, or Alexander Hamiltons around who could do as good a job as the Founding Fathers, and I’m worried about the men who think they can.”
It is time for progressives to get aggressively progressive to educate people about the Kochs and to defeat the Kochdom.
Here are some groups to work with:
Center for Media and Democracy (prwatch.org/cmd) investigates corporate corruption.
It also produces ALECexposed.org, which continually exposes ALEC’s methods for turning USA into a corporate nation.
For resources to help citizens advance progressive policies, go to The State Innovation Exchange (SiX) (stateinnovation.org)
Working Families (workingfamilies.org) organizes, campaigns and helps elect candidates with progressive values.