Never has the phrase “ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US” been so appropriate… Paul Krugman points out in his latest OpEd over at The New York Times that the Republican Party has been completely captured by the 0.01%-ers and along with that comes a “base” of voters to keep the interests of the ultra-wealthy at the top of the agenda. So not only have they bought politicians, but they’ve been able to capture and convince an army of thralls that the interests of the ultra-rich are the interests of the working man. Talk about “false consciousness….” Republican ideology is the ultimate “false consciousness” in America today.
At the risk of quoting Friedrich Engels, let me quote Friedrich Engels.
Ideology is a process accomplished by the so-called thinker. Consciously, it is true, but with a false consciousness. The real motive forces impelling him remain unknown to him; otherwise it simply would not be an ideological process. Hence he imagines false or apparent motives.
And then Krugman is shrill.
The Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have been making waves with a new book acknowledging a truth that, until now, was unmentionable in polite circles. They say our political dysfunction is largely because of the transformation of the Republican Party into an extremist force that is “dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.” You can’t get cooperation to serve the national interest when one side of the divide sees no distinction between the national interest and its own partisan triumph.
So how did that happen? For the past century, political polarization has closely tracked income inequality, and there’s every reason to believe that the relationship is causal. Specifically, money buys power, and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation.
Leveraging the growing inequality, the ultra-wealthy have co-opted our political system by “purchasing” the GOP. But what Krugman misses is that they managed to purchase a whole swath of low-information voters who vote Republican because they’ve always voted Republican. These thralls to Republican ideology who vote with a false consciousness are a huge part of what’s wrong with our political system. But don’t worry, as we privatize the schools, children will be indoctrinated into the Cult of the Republican earlier and we’ll have a whole new generation of thralls. Yay…
Don’t mistake me, the Democrats have moved to the right in response to this radicalization of the GOP, but they’re certainly not “captured” in the same way.