What we aren't hearing is that Americans, for many more years and with greater intensity than inhabitants of other countries, have been groped and goosed and pummeled by a sophisticated, multi-trillion dollar drive to short-circuit deliberation and dialogue in order to spur the self-centered impulse buying that is ruining our civil society.
I want to find out how other countries are fighting for democracy against its corruption by powerful private interests. My learning began in a conversation with Secretary General Yves Leterme of the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), a Stockholm-based organization of 28 member states.
I get the appeal in blaming Republicans. I understand the attraction in good vs. evil stories. I see the strength in the partisan rally. I get it's a great strategy for winning elections. But it is not a strategy for governing. We won't have a functioning government until we create a functioning democracy.
Let's pretend for a minute that Trump is a serious candidate who really believes the views he espouses on the campaign trail. His xenophobic, racist, unrealistic statements on immigration are getting all the attention, but I think another of his go-to themes is also acting as a major draw for supporters: His argument that he is not beholden to donors.
Kevin Gentry is the top fundraiser for the Koch brothers' right-wing political empire and a board member of its money hub, Freedom Partners. He emcees their twice-yearly seminars, where millionaires and billionaires convene to strategize on how to manifest an Ayn Rand utopia -- or dystopia, depending on your viewpoint.