For your amusement and mine, this being an all-fun-all-the-time election campaign, let's examine the relationships between our twenty-first-century plutocrats and the contenders who have raised $5 million or more in individual contributions or through super PACs and are at 5 percent or more in composite national polls.
David Brooks, one of the most prominent of Republican elites in the country, who has even been touted as President Obama's "favorite pundit," is calling on the donor class to rescue the party from the rabble. Game's over, voters: The oligarchs will decide this election. For that's what they are: a small, unbelievably wealthy group of the powerful and privileged who already have a tighter grip on our nation, its government, politics and economy than the rapacious robber barons of our first Gilded Age. Brooks and like-minded elites believe they must be trusted to do the right thing. Let them be the Deciderers.
President Obama's valedictory State of the Union last week brimmed with optimism. Refraining from a traditional laundry list of policy proposals, he stayed rooted in big themes about America, our future and the challenges ahead. He spoke eloquently about how our democracy is built upon "voices of unarmed truth and unconditional love."
America has succumbed to a vicious cycle in which great wealth translates into political power, which generates even more wealth, and even more power. The result of this vicious cycle is a disenfranchisement of most Americans, and a giant upward distribution of income from the middle class and poor to the wealthy and powerful.