THE FOCUS (2/27/2021)
The characteristics of today’s Democratic Party which is controlled by interest groups and assumes voters cannot think for themselves
By Republic Report
The evidence that the 2020 election was stolen is not some kind of a right-wing conspiracy. Even the liberal TIME magazine finally acknowledged that there was a well-coordinated operation by the leftist elites to take down Donald Trump in the 2020 election by any means necessary. Their justification to do it is because they wanted to save democracy from Donald Trump. Whatever that means.
Hence, the new mantra: kill democracy to save democracy. It is only in Democrats’ logic. This says everything associated with the word “Democrat” or “Democratic”.
Is there anything democratic with North Korea? After all, the country’s name is also known as the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. In reality, North Korea is a highly centralized totalitarian state. Or recall the German Democratic Republic or simply known as East Germany. It was a totalitarian state in which it subordinated all areas of social life to political control.
The Emergence of Totalitarian Democracy
How do we understand this contradictory phenomenon? Luckily, Jacob Talmon, a professor of Modern History, had explained it for us about 70 years ago in his influential book in 1952 titled The Rise of Totalitarian Democracy. In his book, Professor Talmon drew a distinction between “liberal democracy” and “totalitarian democracy,” both of which he sees as arising in the 18th century and coming into collision in the 20th. According to him, “liberal democracy” regards politics as a matter of trial and error, and political systems as pragmatic contrivances; it is solicitous of individualism and recognizes that there are legitimate areas of human activity outside the realm of the political.
Meanwhile, “totalitarian democracy” preaches absolute truth and a vision of a “pre-ordained, harmonious and perfect scheme of things, to which men are irresistibly driven, and at which they are bound to arrive”. Its politics is but one aspect of an all-embracing philosophy.
Both “liberal” and “totalitarian” democracy affirm the value of liberty. However, for “liberal”, liberty means individual spontaneity, while for “totalitarian” it is a reconciliation to an absolute, collective purpose—a kind of self-willed slavery. While “liberal democracy” follows the kind of dictum stated by Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg in 1863, that democracy is “that government of the people, by the people, for the people”, “totalitarian democracy” culminated eventually in fascism and communism where people are for the government.
Liberal democracy derives their just powers from the consent of the governed. Hence, for it to function, it is essential that the government respects the people and takes them seriously. Furthermore, to exercise their democratic rights properly, people should be informed as fully as possible and given chances to express their approval/disapproval of their government through open, fair, and honest elections.
As it values personal liberty highly, liberal democracy recognizes the reality of conflict of interests and political power. As such, the solution usually leads to a compromise between different views and different perceived interests. Thus, liberal democracy is a living system of government that can only prosper by being constantly restored or strengthened through the feedback of open, honest, and fair elections.
Totalitarian democracy, on the other hand, derives their powers from the authority and the agenda of the ruling elites. Here, the ruling elites are not necessarily limited to powerful politicians. Instead, it could be an unholy alliance of various elite groups including media, elite bureaucrats, and billionaires/super riches.
Liberal democracy can transform into totalitarian democracy when the ruling elites believe, or pretend to believe, that the lay people are too stupid to make life-changing decisions for themselves and not smart enough to deal with complicated questions that involve competing interests of different groups of people. And hence, they are decision makers that need no feedback, correction, let alone defeat through open, fair, and honest elections.
It is then not surprising if liberal democracy could also quickly mutate into a totalitarian democracy when open, honest, and fair elections are not allowed to happen. The reason is, only through such elections can people exercise their rights to check the accountability of the people they entrust to govern them. A failure to do a proper check could result in a relatively permanent control of power by the elected officials. An election becomes just an event to rubber stamp the tenure of the power holders.
The U.S. Democratic Party
Unfortunately, the Democratic Party in the US has morphed into a totalitarian democracy. Following the criteria explained above that a condescending attitude of ruling elites toward average voters is a necessary condition for totalitarian democracy, democratic elites generally think American voters are stupid. Even the black people, the voter group that has consistently and overwhelmingly voted for Democrats, are not immune to this label.
Two years ago, Democratic Senator, Mazi Hirono spoke at a conference in Washington, D.C., where the moderator asked her how the Democrats could drive voter turnout and connect with them in a meaningful way. “I wish I had the answer to that because one of the things that we, Democrats, have a really hard time is connecting to people’s hearts instead of here,” Hirono said, pointing to her head. “We’re really good at shoving out all the information that touch people here [pointing to her head] but not here [pointing to her heart],” said Hirono
In other words, voters vote with their heart not with their head. Condescending.
Of course, the famous quote from Jonathan Gruber is a classic on this issue. The architect of ObamaCare said in 2013 that a "lack of transparency" and the "stupidity of the American voter" helped Congress approve the healthcare bill.
"Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” Gruber said, suggesting that many lawmakers and voters did not know what was in the law or how its financing worked, and that this helped it win approval. "And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass."
Another indication that the Democratic Party has embraced a totalitarian democracy is from the tenure of their representatives in Congress. Of the 31 House of Representatives in the US Congress who served 40 years or longer in office, 24 are Democrats and only 7 Republicans. In the Senate, of the 25 senators who served or are currently still serving in office for at least 35 years, 16 are Democrats and 9 Republicans.
What is more striking is, of the 32 current House of Representatives who have been in office for at least 25 years, 26 are Democrats and only 6 Republicans! If we expand to those who have been in office for at least 20 years, then we have 45 Democrats and only 14 Republicans. As for current senators who have been in office for more than 20 years, 10 are Democrats and 6 are Republicans.
Either Democratic politicians have a strong instinct to survive politically or they serve the office to survive politically. With the ways the Democrats have been trying to make elections susceptible to fraud (for instance by promoting ballot harvesting, same day registration, and mail-in voting), I suspect it is the latter. In either case, it is not an optimal outcome for the people they represent or lead.
Today's Democrats appear more beholden to special interests and more representative of the union rank and file than the working men and women of America. This is not surprising given the cost of election that has been ballooning. Consider for instance the 2020 election. The election cost a remarkable $14 billion—more than twice the price tag in 2016. Democrats spent 80% more than Republicans, the most lopsided advantage ever according to analysis by the Centre for Responsive Politics (CRP), a research outfit. That still excludes the $400 million poured in by Facebook to primarily help elect Democrats in the 2020 election.
The contrast in the money contributions from interest groups between Democrats and Republicans cannot be understated. As the chart below shows, Democrats received far greater amounts of money from big donor special interest groups than republicans. Biden alone received over $74 million from people on Wall Street, compared to Trump, who received $18 million from those in the same industry.
Why is the election cost so staggeringly high? Since the huge cost was due to spending by the Democrats, this may suggest that perhaps the Democrats do not have strong confidence in their political messages and so continuously bombarding voters with costly campaign ads became a preferable alternative. Another possibility is that the special interest groups just wanted to raise their stake in the game. The more money they give, the more they will receive as the returns to their investment.
If the ruling elites believe that voters cannot be trusted with the truth, cannot think for themselves and they cannot see the forest from the trees, liberal democracy is seriously at risk. In fact, it can become a totalitarian democracy. And coupled with a condition where fair, open, and honest election is not allowed to happen, liberal democracy becomes totalitarian democracy. Given that power tends to corrupt, an unchecked power can result in a systematic corruption. The real interest of the power holders is no longer that of the people they are supposed represent or lead. In fact, it could be tertiary. The first is that of their big money donors.
Consider the education sector.
Education Is About Money & Politics
Historically, political donations from the education industry go to Democrats. The party received at least 70 percent of education industry donations every cycle since 2002. In 2020, the amount was unprecedented. As shown in the chart, the education industry is the largest money contributor to the Democratic Party which amounted to roughly $220 million in 2020, while the Republicans only received less than $20 from the same group of donors. That means over 90 percent of donations from the education industry have gone to Democrats.
The biggest contributors in this sector are the money teachers unions. Teachers unions are one of the strongest and most loyal supporters of the Democratic Party, with 98 percent of the $52 million they spent in the 2020 election going to Democrats, according to Open Secrets. According to Open Secret, the National Education Association (NEA) and the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) account for practically all (99.94%) political spending from teachers unions. The NEA and AFT donated $33.61 million and $18.35 million to Democrats in 2020, respectively.
It did not surprise anyone when the Biden Administration decided to back the teachers unions over the debate whether the schools should be reopened or not this spring. The teachers unions argued that their safety is paramount of importance and even demanded vaccines as a condition of reopening. “Vaccinations go from a priority to essential if you can’t do some of these basic mitigation strategies,” Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, said. “Rather than keep these schools closed for months, why not vaccinate teachers more quickly?”
“The unions have made it pretty clear that they do not want teachers back in school buildings until they’re 100 percent sure they’re safe,” said Katharine Strunk, a professor at Michigan State University who studies education labor markets. But there is no workplace in the world that is 100% safe even for non COVID-related threats.
There shouldn’t even be a debate about re-opening schools. Studies from several countries have shown that COVID-19 poses almost no risk to children. One study recently published in Pediatrics concluded that “schools can reopen safely if they develop and adhere to specific SARS-CoV-2 prevention policies.” Even the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says that “data” from its studies, taken “together with the observation that rates of infection among teachers and nonteachers were generally similar, indicated that schools were not associated with accelerating community transmission.”
As for the vaccination, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has said vaccination of teachers “is not a prerequisite for safe reopening of schools.”
This did not persuade the teachers unions. “There’s tremendous concern among educators and parents that these decisions are not being made with student well-being and educator safety first and foremost—that the heated political rhetoric overshadows responsible decision-making to keep educators and students safe,” said Colin Sharkey, the executive director of the Association of American Educators, a nonunion professional organization for teachers.
Unfortunately, the closings of schools are extremely costly--socially, psychologically, and economically. The youth suicide rates are skyrocketing in some locales and children are falling years behind in school. The left-leaning Brookings Institution estimated that “the cost to the United States in future earnings of four months of lost education is $2.5 trillion—12.7 percent of annual GDP.”
A policy brief published by the Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty examined the reopening decisions in more than 400 Wisconsin school districts. They found that districts with a teachers’ union were more likely to continue remote classes this fall. Community infection rates did not play a significant role in the decision to reopen, the paper asserted.
Last summer, a Rasmussen poll showed that just 29 percent of parents believed teachers’ unions have a good impact on the country. The poll also revealed that 60 percent of parents believed the teachers’ unions are “more interested in protecting their members’ jobs” than in the quality of education they provide. That was before many schools shut in-person instruction again last fall.
Yet, instead of supporting the school children and their parents, Biden firmly stood up for unions, rattling off their demands for more money to fund various safety precautions. “It’s not so much about the idea that teachers aren’t going to work,” Biden insisted. “The teachers I know, they want to work. They just want to work in a safe environment.”
A recent study from Brown University found that "politics, far more than science, shaped school district decision-making." And money too. Lots of it.
Appearing on CNN, White House chief of staff Ron Klain said the real reason, "I'll give you a word: money," he said, arguing that schools would not be able to reopen unless Congress approved more funds.
Sure enough, President Joe Biden's stimulus package proposed to Congress includes $130 billion for school districts, which teachers unions say is necessary to pay for safety measures like better ventilation and hiring more cleaning crew. That is on top of the $54 billion already given to K-12 schools in COVID relief bill passed in December 2020, even if they remain closed.
$184 billion in total has been allocated since December 2020 as part of Covid stimulus bills in order to reopen schools. That's a huge amount of money.
Overall, the total amount of money poured into K-12 and colleges/universities during the pandemic is nearly $283 billion.
No End in Sight
Theoretically, one person, one vote principle is the hallmark of democracy. It sounds simple. But simple does not mean cheap. In fact, democracy is reasonably quite costly. Which is why one person, one vote principle is not really true in reality. A wealthy person, or the Big Money, can “clone” his or her vote by buying influence or votes to sway an election to his or her favor.
Since election outcomes determine policies and laws, pouring money into the system in order to influence the election outcome becomes an essential part of the game. The Big Money can form interest groups and have them run by professionals or zealot operatives. In some cases, it may run in both directions, where advocate groups approach the Big Money first and then the latter supports the former.
At some point the nature of the connection becomes a principal-agent relationship. Throw in professional lobbyists, who are paid by the Big Money, whether individual or corporation, to directly influence the direction of the laws and policies in the post-election, then one can have a slightly fuller picture of the real democracy.
We can call the three entities--the Big Money, the Lobbyists, the Advocate Groups—special interest groups with the word “special” ties to the issues or areas of policies they are aggressively advocating or influencing. Regardless of the issue, objectively, the primary interest of these groups is not that of the average voter. In fact, why do they have to spend so much money and so much energy for others? They are not some kind of benevolent agents willing to donate a significant portion of their resources to make average people’s lives better. This is true in the climate change issue, pharmaceutical industry, or even education industry as described above.
Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do to stop it. In fact, it can be viewed as necessary evil in democracy. That is because of the basic principle of democracy of one person one vote and, whether one likes it or not, election is costly.
The question of course is, should elected officials, whether they are representatives or leaders, succumb to the pressures of the special interest groups or not? Secondly, are average voters given open access to the sources and amount of money poured in into the candidates and political parties well before the election? The media is supposed to help voters with the latter. When the media also has a stake in the election by openly advocating one party over the other, this information will never be out to the public well before Election Day.
More than three weeks after the election, CNN reported on November 27, 2020 that more than $320 million of so-called "dark money", anonymous donors who will never be identified, helped boost Democrats in the White House and congressional races -- more than double the anonymous dollars that aided Republicans in the 2020 federal elections. And only after he was inaugurated now we know that Joe Biden’s record-breaking $1.5 billion campaign fundraising haul was boosted by $145 million in so-called “dark money” contributions.
Even the left-leaning publication Bloomberg put a headline:
The “dark money” groups now enjoyed their harvest as Biden’s staff is filled with people affiliated with dark money. As reported by Washington Times:
“Mr. Biden's chief of staff, Ron Klain, was a board member of the dark money group CAP Action Fund before joining the Biden administration.
Similarly, Gina McCarthy, the White House National Climate Adviser, led the Natural Resources Defense Council, a climate action dark money group that has received millions from the Sixteen Thirty Fund and the New Venture Fund. Those two funds come underneath the massive dark money umbrella of little-known Arabella Advisors, which moves half-a-billion dollars per year to left-wing organizations involved in policy and political campaigns.
Another example is Jennifer Granholm, President Biden’s nominee for secretary of Energy. Ms. Granholm chaired a dark money think tank whose sister organization spent $60 million to help elect Mr. Biden.”
Besides “dark money”, political donations from a sector that is made up of organizations that focus on a single-issue area, Democrats also enjoyed a significant advantage by 3 to 1. Some of the most popular issues are abortion, gun control, health care, the second amendment, environment and foreign policy, Democrats received by more than 3 to 1 (76% to 23%).
Perhaps it is not an exaggeration to say that the national Democratic Party is owned by the special-interest groups with their single-issue constituents who care about only their own narrow agenda. The special-interest groups have come between the Democratic Party and the people. The party is no longer a link to most of their constituents, let alone all Americans. Each advocacy group has become more important than the sum of the whole. This explains why the national Democratic Party leadership are so keen to enact radical laws backed up by special interest groups but have less broad-based support of the American people.
Totalitarian democracy masquerading as liberal democracy and big money special interest groups support each other. The ruling elites, where the Big Money is part of them, that rigged the 2020 election as reported in the Time magazine, did not try to save democracy, but to rig it for their political and financial interests. And this relationship can last if the media is in cahoots with them. Unfortunately, that is what is really happening in the United States.
And the first casualty is always the regular, innocent voters.
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