Democracy or Oligarchy

By Senator Bernie Sanders The Progressive, November 2014

The most important point we can make about contemporary politics is to understand how extraordinarily successful the Koch brothers have been in turning the American political scene to the right.

Some of you may remember people like Dwight David Eisenhower. And in my state we had a whole list of moderate Republicans who actually were concerned about the environment, education, women’s rights. They didn’t have our politics, but they had deep concerns about the welfare of ordinary people.

I want to start off by sharing with you a document of the 1980 Libertarian Party. The candidate for Vice President from that party was one David Koch, who is half of the Koch brothers. When you see this document, you understand how far the Republican Party has moved to the right. Take a look at these exact quotes from the platform that David Koch ran on. It’s not just that he received 1 percent of the vote. It’s that many of the ideas that he put forth in that campaign were thought to be crazy, wacky, fringe ideas.

But listen to how those ideas reflect today’s mainstream Republican thinking.

This is a quote: “We urge the repeal of federal campaign finance laws and the immediate dissolution of the despotic Federal Election Commission.”

Right now, as you know, because of the efforts of the Republican Party, the Koch brothers, and others, the Supreme Court gave us the disastrous 5 to 4 decision in Citizens United, one of the worst decisions in the history of the United States of America. The decision says corporations are people, and corporations and wealthy people can spend as much money as they want on independent expenditures.

For the Koch brothers and today for the leadership of the Republican Party, you have to understand, that does not go far enough. They want, and this is what David Koch was talking about thirty-five years ago, they want billionaires to be able to directly hand checks of $50 million to the candidates of their choice. That is now the position of the top of the Republican Party.

Here is also what they talked about back then and what they believe today: “We favor the abolition of Medicare and Medicaid programs.”

And here is another quote: “We favor the repeal of the fraudulent, virtually bankrupt, and increasingly oppressive Social Security system.”…

continue reading and see video of Senator Sanders’ speech at The Progressive

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