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Fri Aug 28, 2015, 11:58 AM

You all get that Democrats get massive "donations" from corporations, right?

A conversation I was having in this thread yesterday prompted me to wonder how many other people are under the impression that Democratic candidates for president only get small donations from 'mom and pop', while Republicans get huge donations from evil entities like the Koch Brothers.

Let's look at a list of the top contributors to the leading presidential candidates the last time there wasn't an incumbent in the race:

Click on this link: http://www.opensecrets.org/PRES08/contrib.php?cid=N00009638

Click on this link: http://www.opensecrets.org/pres08/contrib.php?cycle=2008&cid=n00006424

Notice how much overlap there is with 3 of the top 7 donors being the same for each candidate. Obama, of course, got much more on account of him being a heavy favorite to win. But those corporations like to hedge their bets, because you never know what might happen. Why do you think a Goldman Sachs employee became Treasury Secretary? Presidents are beholden to those who "donate"/bribe.

If you understand all that and figure it is what it is, fine. But if you don't get that, as the poster I was conversing with didn't seem to get, I think it's important that you recognize the extent to which our political system is corrupt. It does no good to live in a fantasy world in which the "good" guys get donations from Bobby's piggy bank, while the "bad" guys get bribes from evil corporations.

We have:

-a revolving door between regulatory agencies and those who need regulating

-a revolving door between public office and Big Banks/Pharma/Ag/weapons manufacturers/et al.

-the US's history of supporting ruthless dictators who are anti-democratic in the name of "stability"

-for profit prisons, for profit health "care"

-military spending that eats up 54% of discretionary spending

And so on and so forth. It's state-sanctioned insanity.

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Reply You all get that Democrats get massive "donations" from corporations, right? (Original post)
Garrett78 Aug 2015 OP
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Aug 2015 #1
Garrett78 Aug 2015 #2
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Aug 2015 #3
Garrett78 Aug 2015 #4
Maven Aug 2015 #5
Garrett78 Aug 2015 #7
Zorra Aug 2015 #6
Garrett78 Aug 2015 #8
Zorra Aug 2015 #9
Garrett78 Aug 2015 #10

Response to Garrett78 (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 12:13 PM

1. Well, from people working for those corporations, sure.

This table lists the top donors to this candidate in the 2016 cycle. The money came from the organizations' PACs; their individual members, employees or owners; and those individuals' immediate families. At the federal level, the organizations themselves did not donate, as they are prohibited by law from doing so. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates.


Here's Bernie's 2016 to date


Bernie Sanders (D)

Top Contributors, federal election data
Election cycles covered: 2016

Google Inc $14,652
Quilceda Creek Vintners $10,000
University of California $9,000
National Education Assn $6,392
University of Illinois $5,760
Federal Coal Co $5,500
Santa Monica Art Studios $5,400
Microsoft Corp $5,080
Dartmouth College $4,242
Pacific Gourmet $4,000
Coldwell Banker Real Estate $4,000
Merrill Lynch $3,700
Boeing Co $3,450
Amazon.com $3,317
Columbia University $3,293
United Parcel Service $3,202
US Postal Service $3,179
Promed Capital $3,000
Clinical Radiologists SC $3,000
Apple Inc $2,906


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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #1)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 12:26 PM

2. PACs provide a loophole big enough to drive a truck through. nt

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #2)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 12:44 PM

3. True, but given the amounts Bernie's netted so far

We're talking 2-6 people tops, maxing out their contribution who work from each of those companies. But I'm betting Bernie's gotten a bunch of smaller contribs from Amazon workers, rather than having Bezos max out for him...

Heck, if all of the Bernie contributors here at DU had the same employer, we'd be his second largest donor on that list.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #3)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 01:24 PM

4. That's one of the reasons Sanders won't be nominated.

The powers that be can tolerate a leftist position on some social issues, but they aren't going to allow the nomination of someone who actively opposes the military industrial complex, prison industrial complex, major banking reform, the current tax structure, and so on. So, the bulk of the money will go toward establishment candidates who can be trusted (regardless of what their rhetoric may suggest, particularly primary campaign rhetoric). That's true for Sanders on the left and Paul on the right (both of whom attract a large following).

The other problem Sanders has is his lack of charisma. And the fact that 25% of registered voters have never even heard of him, much less know anything about him.

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Response to Garrett78 (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 02:44 PM

5. yes, i think most people here are aware. we have institutionalized corruption in the US

and both major parties are complicit in it.

that is not to say that both parties are equally responsible for the sad state of affairs in which we find our country.

welcome to DU.

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Response to Maven (Reply #5)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 07:09 PM

7. Equal, no, but...

I think federal level Democrats are far more corrupted than many wish to believe. Just look at that list of top contributors to Obama in 2008. Those in public office are far more beholden to Big Business than they are to the public they supposedly serve.

Lawrence Lessig and Zephyr Teachout were interviewed by Bill Moyers. Lessig had the following to say:

"I mean, we have the data to show this now. There was a Princeton study by Martin Gilens and Ben Page. The largest empirical study of actual policy decisions by our government in the history of our government. And what they did is they related our actual decisions to what the economic elite care about, what the organized interest groups care about, and what the average voter cares about.

And when they look at the economic elite, you know, as the percentage of economic elite who support an idea goes up, the probability of it passing goes up. As the organized interests care about something more and more, the probability of it passing goes up. But as the average voter cares about something, it has no effect at all, statistically no effect at all on the probability of it passing. If we can go from zero percent of the average voters caring about something to 100 percent and it doesn't change the probability of it actually being enacted. And when you look at those numbers, that graph, this flat line, that flat line is a metaphor for our democracy. Our democracy is flat lined. Because when you can show clearly there's no relationship between what the average voter cares about, only if it happens to coincide with what the economic elite care about, you've shown that we don't have a democracy anymore."

Clear majorities support progressive (what some call "far left" policy measures being taken, as mentioned in this article: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/more-and-more-americans-agree-bernie-sanders-and-not-just-those-who-identify-left

But, as Lessig said, there's zero correlation between what people want and what gets enacted. And I don't see that changing until lefties get very active at the local level all across the US. Because, right now, "America has lefties but no left," as Bernard Chazelle wrote.

Anyway, thanks for the welcome.

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Response to Garrett78 (Original post)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 03:02 PM

6. Duh. Many of us knew this since childhood. Which candidate for President are

you supporting?

Maybe Jill Stein, or Cynthia McKinney?

I love them both, but Bernie's chances of being nominated and elected are millions of times greater than either of them ever being elected in the GE.

Instead of consciously or unconsciously trying to discourage Sander's supporters with chronic nihilism, why don't you join us in supporting and voting to nominate Bernie, a candidate who actually has a chance to be nominated and elected?

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Response to Zorra (Reply #6)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 07:16 PM

8. I'm not a nihilist.

I just don't care to expend a great deal of energy on federal level politics, what with there being no correlation between what a large majority of people want and what actually gets enacted (see my post above). There's more to being engaged in the struggle for a more just, equitable world than voting for president.

So, yeah, my protest vote will likely go to Jill Stein. No, she won't win, but neither will Sanders. The party establishment won't allow someone like Sanders to be the nominee. Maybe one day if lefties get organized at the local level.

I agree with Julio Huato, who wrote, "I believe that the greatest promise lies, not in national struggles (where, IMO, one way or another, we'll be operating within the strictures imposed by the system), but in smaller scale local battles. Let's go local. Let's work seriously to take over PTAs, unions, municipal governments -- entities charged with managing resources for specific public purposes, even if those resources are meager and shrinking. Let's go after them. If we think we can change the system within our lifetimes, then this certainly will feel like small change. What I envision is taking over a town and turning it around. To the extent possible, converting that town into a small, democratically managed, proto-socialist island. Let's show the world and ourselves how the left can help people manage (and manage well) their public affairs at a local level. Let's go wherever the fruit hangs lowest. That is the kind of work that, sooner than we think, will ripen things at the national level."

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Response to Garrett78 (Reply #8)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 08:41 PM

9. National politics are of the utmost importance to me personally right now.

I'm female, lgbt, mixed race.

So I'm sure you can understand why national politics are of primary importance to me right now, and why electing Bernie is paramount on my agenda. The short version is I need a liberal SCOTUS, the right to have full control my own body, and legal protection from discrimination on several fronts. Add this to the fact that I seek both economic and social justice and detest neoliberalism, and voila! President Bernie Sanders is my best, and only option.

Furthermore, I don't believe that the earth can withstand much more abuse at the hands of neoliberals, and they will never stop abusing her unless they are assertively restrained from doing so.

The PTA just ain't gonna get me anywhere near where I need to go in my lifetime. You have a political party agenda, an agenda that I respect. But not grabbing the opportunity to vote for and elect Bernie Sanders to help advance your agenda right now is like cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Instead of preaching that Bernie Sanders can't win, and passively rolling over and accepting another Democratic neoliberal candidate vying for the WH, and many years of more destruction, stand together with us against neoliberalism.

Believe me, I really do get it, Garrett. But I see Bernie as the last chance for the US. If Bernie is not nominated, I'm moving out of the country permanently, because at that point, I'm done, the political situation in the US will have become hopeless, and I have better, more productive, and more fun stuff to do with the rest of my life than to struggle futilely with the neoiliberal/extreme RW walking dead in the US.

You might enjoy this read if you haven't read it yet.

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/21427-from-fire-to-autonomy-zapatistas-20-years-of-walking-slowly

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Response to Zorra (Reply #9)

Fri Aug 28, 2015, 11:27 PM

10. As Julio wrote...

"If we think we can change the system within our lifetimes, then this certainly will feel like small change."

Even if Sanders were to be elected, we wouldn't experience large-scale systemic change. Sanders himself said, "...no matter who is elected to be president, that person will not be able to address the enormous problems facing the working families of our country. They will not be able to suceed becuase the power of corporate America, the power of Wall Street, the power of campaign donors is so great that no president alone can stand up to them. That is the truth. People may be uncomfortable about hearing it, but that is the reality. And that is why what this campaign is about is saying loudly and clearly: It is not just about electing Bernie Sanders for president, it is about creating a grassroots political movement in this country."

The system is rotten to its core. And I guess it's sort of a catch-22 in that the system is too rotten for someone like Sanders to be nominated. I know some call that defeatist (and some might say that what Sanders said signals defeatism), but I've followed US politics long enough to feel confident that I'm just being a realist.

I hear you on the SCOTUS thing and I'm certainly not suggesting that you not vote for Sanders. If nothing else, I hope his campaign does spur a "grassroots political movement" in the US. And I can assure you my few posts about his prospects won't have any bearing on the election outcome. And I hear you on wanting systemic change in your lifetime ("The PTA just ain't gonna get me anywhere near where I need to go in my lifetime.", but I'm afraid the level of change you and I would both like to see is going to take a lot of time...and I think it begins with taking over local organizations and government. We have to plant seeds in the collective consciousness/conscience, accepting that we may not see all the fruits of our labor before we die.

It'd be a shame if you left the US, but I can understand why you'd feel that way.

Thanks for the link. The Zapatistas are very impressive. I believe Amy Goodman on Democracy Now has discussed them before.

Here's a link to an article about how neoliberalism has impacted society as a whole: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/neoliberalism-economic-system-ethics-personality-psychopathicsthic

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