To save democracy, Biden and Democrats must stand up to “wealth supremacists”
You would think that President Biden and the leadership of the Democratic Party would do everything in their power to stop Republicans from undermining democracy.
So far this year, the GOP has passed around 30 laws in states across the country that will make voting more difficult, especially in black and Latino communities. With Trump’s baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen, Republicans are fueling white fears that a growing non-white population is usurping their dominance.
Yet while Biden and Democratic leaders openly negotiate with recalcitrant senators over Biden’s stimulus and infrastructure proposals, they are not exerting similar pressure on voting rights and elections. In fact, Biden now says he won’t tackle the filibuster, which stands firmly in the way.
Which give? Part of the explanation, I think, lies with an outside group that has almost as much influence on the Democratic Party as it does on the Republican Party, and which is not particularly enthusiastic about electoral reform: the rich interests. which finance both parties.
They fear that a stronger democracy will make it easier for the majority of Americans who are not wealthy to raise taxes on the rich to fund all kinds of things the majority may want, from better schools to stronger safety nets.
So, at the same time as white supremacists have stoked fears that non-whites are usurping their dominance, wealthy Americans have spent huge sums on campaign donations and lobbyists to prevent majorities from usurping their money.
They’ve already stoked resistance from Congressional Democrats to Biden’s plan to tax capital gains at 39.6% – down from 20% – for those who earn more than $ 1 million. And they’re about to convince Democrats to restore the federal tax deduction for state and local taxes, of which they are the biggest beneficiaries.
In recent years, these wealth supremacists, as they might be called, have quietly joined with white supremacists to become a powerful anti-democratic coalition.
Some wealth supremacists have supported the efforts of white supremacists to divide poor whites and working class from poor blacks and browns and working class, so that they don’t look up and see where they are going. most economic gains and don’t. unite to demand a fair share of these gains.
Likewise, white supremacists have quietly depended on wealth supremacists to bribe lawmakers to limit voting rights, so that people of color continue to be second-class citizens. It is no coincidence that six months after the insurgency, dozens of giant corporations that have pledged not to fund members of Congress who refused to certify Biden as president are now back to fund them as well as their anti-voting rights program.
Donald Trump was put in power by this anti-democracy coalition. According to Forbes, 9% of US billionaires, with a combined value of $ 210 billion, helped cover the costs of Trump’s 2020 campaign. During his presidency, Trump gave both sides of the coalition what they wanted most: tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks for wealth supremacists; legitimacy for white supremacists.
The coalition is now the core of the Republican Party, which amounts to little more than the suppression of voters based on Trump’s big lie that the 2020 election was stolen and tax cuts for the rich and their businesses.
Meanwhile, as the wealth supremacists have amassed a greater share of the nation’s income and wealth than at any time in more than a century, they have used some of that wealth to bribe the legislators so that they do not increase their taxes. It was recently reported that several American billionaires paid very little or no federal income tax at all.
Tragically, the Supreme Court supports both white supremacists and wealth supremacists. Since Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito joined the court in 2005 and 2006, respectively, the court has reduced voting rights while expanding the rights of the rich to pay lawmakers money. The Conservative majority has literally made it easier to buy an election and more difficult to vote in it.
The Democrats’ proposed For the People law admirably supports both sides of the coalition. It sets minimum national standards for voting, and he seeks to extract a lot of money from politics through public funding of election campaigns.
Yet this comprehensiveness may explain why the law is now blocked in the Senate. Biden and the Democratic leadership are firmly against white supremacists but are not immune to the wishes of wealth supremacists. After all, to win an election they probably need Democrats to vote, but they also need a lot of money to fund their campaigns.
Some progressives have suggested an exception to filibuster only for voting rights. It might coerce white supremacists but would do nothing to protect America’s democracy from wealth supremacists.
If democracy is to be preserved, both sides of the anti-democracy coalition must be stopped.