How Billionaire Oligarchs Are Becoming Their Own Political Parties

Is the Florida governor’s race a campaign between a Democrat and a Republican or a battle between Tom Steyer and the Koch brothers?
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So, what is new? Isn't it the American way? Buy, buy, buy it has always been and we the everyday people improvise and do it our way.

0 2016-09-12 19:44:14 - Davi-

I, like so many of us here, are inundated with multiple, daily requests for money from the Dems and progressive pacs. INUNDATED. We constitute the "small donor" class. I look at these Urgent! messages and everytime someone suggests we can simply donate more to beat the Kochs I shake my head. Yes, I do give when the dollar is multiplied but I still shake my head.

It is a money race, pure and simple. In the case of your comment, "if the electorate doesn't wake up..." I'm afraid that ship has already sailed. It doesn't matter if we wake up or not. We have no political power. Period.

2 2016-09-12 04:46:49 - Meela

The Supreme Court does, in fact, believe in one dollar, one vote, and they will never change that view. It is their religion.

15 2016-09-08 14:03:25 - George

Thank you NYTimes for calling most politicians for what they are- talking heads for their political donors, who don't have the guts to stand up for what they believe. American democracy, a big sham, a cover for the corporate elite.

58 2016-09-07 15:51:52 - Ed Mahala

They vote Republican BECAUSE they are the poorest and most undereducated states. Not in spite of that fact.

4 2016-09-02 17:27:01 - Enemy of Crime

The Kochs are only motivated by THEIR desire to see THEMSELVES prosper and they don't care what happens to the rest of us. Beyond of course, our ability to provide low wage labor with no protections for their companies. And the only thing they want to prevent the government from doing is interfering with their abilities to do exactly that.

Economic prosperity, my foot. Educate yourself and stop spouting deliberate misinformation.

7 2016-08-16 10:32:54 - bleurose

You can have a more reasonable, benign oligarch like Tom Steyer or rapacious oligarchs like the Koch brothers. Either way, money has replaced the vote. In Iran, the religious council vets political candidates; in America, our candidates are vetted by vast sums of private capital.

13 2016-08-15 15:16:10 - Mike

Communism lost to capitalism in the USSR
Democracy lost to capitalism in the USA
Oligarchs are the kings of capitalism.
That is the new world order.

4 2016-08-14 10:46:31 - Rickyvee

The corporate -catholic-controlled Supreme Court has decided money is speech and corporations are people who do not have to disclose how much they spend trying to buy "our" government so we have a truckload of supposed "masters of the universe" trying to force their will on us. The joke is on them. ALL MONEY CAN BUY IS OUR VOTES. Yours and mine. We must use them on November 4 to vote for candidates who are dedicated to restoring democracy, sanity and civility in America. That means not one republican/libertarian/tea party vote for me in the foreseeable future. Once we wrest control of Congress and state, county, city elected offices - including local judgeships -, from the Koch brothers we can concentrate on replacing those posing as democrats and independents who are also in the pockets of BIG money. It is time for a sea change in America.

41 2016-08-12 10:48:37 - njglea

Oligarcy: "a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people".

Which part of this definition doesn't apply?

21 2016-08-10 15:49:13 - dub

Somehow, I can't get out of my head the "Bush and Gore are the same. Vote for Nader" comments of my friends in 2000. After Roberts and Alito, what do you think now?

13 2016-07-31 22:39:21 - Ken

Until and unless Buckley V Valeo is repealed (the Supreme Court decision that said, essentially, money equals speech,) then all the whining and patch work solutions will be in vain.

In the interim, repeal the Reagan tax cuts and put the topr ate back to 70%. Then, at least, there won't be as much money laying around for these rich people to spend buying our democracy.

9 2016-07-31 16:48:12 - Paul

Yes, if the playing field were truly leveled.

0 2016-07-30 01:37:15 - JazzGuyy

Money will decide who gets on the ballot and money will decide who wins the election. I just don't see how I could effect anything in such a situation. We are all about to be swept along on a river of money. Only money matters, don't blame me blame the Supreme Court for remaking the American experiment for the uber-rich.

1 2016-07-24 20:50:51 - Ed Burke

Is it free speech the NYT is writing about or the amplification of free speech available t only a few - no matter what POV is being amplified. Imagine if these millions upon millions were plowed back into this country's infrastructure, research and development, and education. What a waste of dollars and how inequitable to make the richest donor the loudest voice at the table.

2 2016-07-24 00:01:18 - SButler

Saddest of all: our young people are too well aware of old gazillionaire crooks at the helm as fewer and fewer bother to cast a vote for any of the villainous profiteers.

3 2016-07-18 13:13:07 - Prunella

While Steyer and the Kochs may use the same means to get a candidate elected, their ends are very different. Steyer's goal is to decrease the rate of global climate change. The Kochs' goal is to increase their own companies' revenue. Steyer is motivated by principle. The Kochs are motivated by profit.
Steyer is making a donation. The Kochs are making an investment. And, most basically, Steyer is looking out for the interests of others. The Kochs are simply looking out for themselves.

314 2016-07-09 13:42:12 - jlasf

If Lincoln were writing today, he would have to change the Gettysburg address. "... that any government of the rich, by the rich, for the rich, shall eventually perish from the earth."

It's happened countless times-- see France and czarist Russia for recent examples. People never learn.

91 2016-07-07 20:15:18 - angrygirl

OldEngineer - the problem is that the pool is limited to the guys who can get the money. You can vote your conscience within the choices that they put before you - other potentially valuable people drop by the wayside as they can't compete against the flood of cash and the media coverage it buys.

See: Zephyr Teachout

Her expenditures per vote were $1.50, while the incumbent Andrew Cuomo spent $35.00 for each vote he received. Despite that, she received 35%of the vote - imagine the impact a few more dollars could have made in that race, and left New Yorkers with a real choice in November.

6 2016-07-07 14:23:35 - Ellen

What part of "scores of wealthy Republicans" vs. "one guy and his wife" failed to get through to you?

1 2016-07-06 02:12:20 - bleurose

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