Safe Bet Winner of the 2008 Presidential Election...
Corporations and Wealthy donors.
The word of the day is "Polyarchy." Wiki
"Polyarchy is generally what British leaders mean when they speak of promoting 'democracy' abroad. This is a system in which a small group actually rules and mass participation is confined to choosing leaders in elections managed by competing elites."
Essentially it means, rule by the elite.
The facade that makes us believe we are still in a democracy is we get to vote for them. In other words, the rabble gets to vote once in awhile and pay taxes.
This particular elite happens to be an interconnected global clique of neoliberalists.
The main points of neo-liberalism include:
1. THE RULE OF THE MARKET. Liberating "free" enterprise or private enterprise from any bonds imposed by the government (the state) no matter how much social damage this causes. Greater openness to international trade and investment, as in NAFTA. Reduce wages by de-unionizing workers and eliminating workers' rights that had been won over many years of struggle. No more price controls. All in all, total freedom of movement for capital, goods and services. To convince us this is good for us, they say "an unregulated market is the best way to increase economic growth, which will ultimately benefit everyone." It's like Reagan's "supply-side" and "trickle-down" economics -- but somehow the wealth didn't trickle down very much.
2. CUTTING PUBLIC EXPENDITURE FOR SOCIAL SERVICES like education and health care. REDUCING THE SAFETY-NET FOR THE POOR, and even maintenance of roads, bridges, water supply -- again in the name of reducing government's role. Of course, they don't oppose government subsidies and tax benefits for business.
3. DEREGULATION. Reduce government regulation of everything that could diminsh profits, including protecting the environment and safety on the job.
4. PRIVATIZATION. Sell state-owned enterprises, goods and services to private investors. This includes banks, key industries, railroads, toll highways, electricity, schools, hospitals and even fresh water. Although usually done in the name of greater efficiency, which is often needed, privatization has mainly had the effect of concentrating wealth even more in a few hands and making the public pay even more for its needs.
5. ELIMINATING THE CONCEPT OF "THE PUBLIC GOOD" or "COMMUNITY" and replacing it with "individual responsibility." Pressuring the poorest people in a society to find solutions to their lack of health care, education and social security all by themselves -- then blaming them, if they fail, as "lazy."
Sound familiar? Remember Reagan's smiling face, glowing eyes, and those inspiring words: "Magic Market" as he looks up at the wonders of the universe?
Yes, neoliberalism is what replaced the old liberalism when Reagan came into office. The old liberalism started out as classical liberalism, the economic version of which is like neoliberalism (that's why it's called neoliberalism now) but it had become "perverted" when it evolved into the New Deal liberalism after it was discovered that classical liberalismn left common people, who's only capital was their time they could sell, hanging out over a cliff after the stock market crashed in 1929, and suddenly there was not enough places left where people could go to sell their time. Another unfortunate thing had come to pass: few people knew how to hunt and gather anymore, being as how they'd had to become city folks and all in order to work in the factories and make all that capital for the rich folks.
By the 1980s enough voters became convinced, through mass propaganda, particularly in the South, where Democrats used to reign, that enough boats had been floated by redistributing the wealth through New Deal programs, and it was time to go back to "freedom." Those neoliberal "freedom" principles were promoted by that smiling actor with his stirring lines he was so good at delivering, about the "magic market" and all, and Nixon's silent majority came out to vote. And so it was decided: time to start over again -- before too many people got uppity and began demanding more freedom from slavery of the workplace.
Now our candidates are decided by a horse race for the money. And quite apparently the money is going to decide what they do, though it's supposed to not be legal, and even though they keep getting caught at it.
Until there is required publically financed elections, the money interests apparently don't have to be worried about getting caught at capital investment in that realm of the polyarchs:
From the above link, we can see that the top three Democrats have raised a total of nearly $66 million while the top three Republicans have raised a total of nearly $51 million. And top fundraiser Hillary Clinton has collected $19 million of her $26 million from people giving the max of $2300 for the primary cycle.
That's a staggering amount of money. What it means is the viable candidates will opt out of the public financing program that has been in place for thirty years. In fact, since the 2000 election the formula for winning the nomination and then the presidency is to not stay a part of that system.
Given that staying in the public finance system means limitations on the money that one can raise and spend, there is no incentive to be a part of it. This should not be a choice if any sense of a popular based democracy is hoped for in a society. Candidates bypass public financing and the inequities between haves and have nots grow stark. Polyarchy is enhanced as the impact of wealthy contributors is accentuated.
To give some sense of how the power of wealth factor of neoliberalism has taken root since the Reagan "revolution," data from the Campaign Finance Institute shows that the political party conventions, where the last remaining vestiges of soft money comes in, increased their take from $1.1 million in 1980 to $103.5 million in 2004.
The British have promoted polyarchic democracies for some time as they pulled back from their colonies. The US switched from CIA initiated coups to promoting them beginning in the early eighties through a number of government funded NGOs, the first of which was:
There is a world class crony system involved in all of this. The US is in the Middle East for these cronies and their neoliberal empire. But most of us have little to say about it other than to go to the polls and pick which one of them is going to revolve through the doors of the White House, Congress, the Military Industrial Complex, corporate funded NGOs and Transnational Corporations. And the ones in the White House now are picking our Supreme Court and other Federal appointees from the ranks of the Federalist Society, a well funded clique of some 35,000 members who have all the intentions in the world of finding the legal basis in the Constitution to support their way of life.
How about we rock their boat? Kucinich looks like a good bet to me for the people about now.