Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Lloyd Blankfein is the epitome of disenfranchisement

Reader Supported News is running an article by Matt Taibbi with some very interesting commentary about Lloyd Blankfein. While the article goes into significant detail about the mindset behind the bailouts, what is noted here is how Blankfein thinks that the Sanders' campaign is "a very dangerous moment". Blankfein is expressing concern that he was singled out by Bernie Sanders in a recent debate.

But I don't think that it's such a "dangerous moment" for the reasons that Blankfein says that it is. What isn't said by Blankfein is that Sanders completely defied the money primary in this election, and 14 other elections that he has won before running in this one. Blankfein is a billionaire who sees a campaign contribution as chump change to get what he wants. He can buy a law if he wants to. He has the right of nomination.

At least, he did have the right of nomination until Sanders came along to show him that he didn't. Sanders is just running on money from small donations from millions of people. No SuperPAC to act as a sluice for channeling money for favors. No billionaire support. Just him, asking for money to support his campaign for the highest office in the land.

What is also interesting is that Blankfein doesn't want to make an endorsement. From the same article:
He added that he didn't want to pick a candidate because "I don't want to help or hurt anybody by giving an endorsement."
This despite paying Hilary Clinton $675,000 in speaking fees for three speeches. Taibbi wonders if this must be part of the $30 million in speaking fees that both Hilary and Bill Clinton were paid in the last 16 months. That is a huge chunk of change from some very wealthy donors. They couldn't possibly expect something in return for that money, could they?

If they do, and if Hilary should happen to succeed in her quest to assert that it's her turn to be president, and she returns the favor, then we have another problem. it's call disenfranchisement. I used to think that disenfranchisement is just the denial of the right to a vote. But it's more than that.

Prior to the American Revolution for Independence, "taxation without representation" was a common theme in American politics. The colonies knew that they were not being fairly represented in the British Parliament. Their voices were not heard. But they were paying a tax to the Crown. They were...there's another word for it, but I'll just say that they were disenfranchised.

In the same vein, when a wealthy interest makes a large campaign contribution to someone in Congress, or in the statehouse, even for a state in which he should happen to live, there is an expectation for something in return. If the representative votes for bills that support the cause of the donor over the cause of everyone else, that is disenfranchisement.

Was the representative voted into office by the people? Sure. If the people are engaged with that representative about an issue and they let their views be known by the representative, does the representative have a duty to listen and follow their will? Yes. If the representative does not listen to the majority of the people he said he would serve when he ran for office, that is disenfranchisement.

To put if very bluntly, If a wealthy campaign donor can subvert the vote of the representative for his own purposes, that donor is disenfranchising everyone else. That means that everyone else's vote doesn't matter when money walks into the room.

The black slaves that came to this country for much of its history were denied the right to vote. They knew what disenfranchisement looks like. It would seem that Blankfein is letting us know that the scope of disenfranchisement is now much larger than it used to be. Blankfein would really appreciate it if we would all just settle down and accept the fact that this country has become an oligarchy.
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