Capitalism and democracy are compatible only if democracy is in the driver’s seat.
That’s why I took some comfort just after the attack on the Capitol when many big corporations solemnly pledged they’d no longer finance the campaigns of the 147 lawmakers who voted to overturn election results.
Well, those days are over. Turns out they were over the moment the public stopped paying attention.
A report published last week by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington shows that over the past year, 717 companies and industry groups have donated more than $18m to 143 of those seditious lawmakers. Businesses that pledged to stop or pause their donations have given nearly $2.4m directly to their campaigns or political action committees (Pacs).
But there’s a deeper issue here. The whole question of whether corporations do or don’t bankroll the seditionist caucus is a distraction from a much larger problem.
The tsunami of money now flowing from corporations into the swamp of American politics is larger than ever. And this money – bankrolling almost all politicians and financing attacks on their opponents – is undermining American democracy as much as did the 147 seditionist members of Congress. Maybe more.
The Democratic senator Kyrsten Sinema – whose vocal opposition to any change in the filibuster is on the verge of dooming voting rights – received almost $2m in campaign donations in 2021 even though she is not up for re-election until 2024. Read more…