Friday, November 6, 2015

Koch Is the Interview That Keeps On Giving

Wednesday we wrote about the glimpse Charles Koch gave everyone into the way wealthy donors actually use money to influence policy.

Today we continue finding nuggets of truth in Koch's interview.

At 2:35 in the above video Koch says:
I don't care what party, I just want somebody who's going to advance these ideas to take us away from this two-tier system, getting involved in all sorts of unproductive things, and all this waste and like our, our total unfunded debt and unfunded liabilities.
He doesn't "care what party". That statement may seem incredible for someone so closely associated with the Republicans and, in fact, you may not believe him. But you should. This quote reveals something very important about how wealthy interests engage in politics. When you have enough money to get the attention of politicians, you don't care which party wins, you care who listens better.

Koch isn't the only example of this. You may have heard that ALL politicians are in the pockets of billionaires, oil, banks, big Pharma and so on. Another way of looking at this is the well known fact that billionaires, oil and banks all give to both the Democrats and Republicans. Why do they do this? Why not pick one party over the other and develop deep bond of trust and loyalty? Because the two party system is BIG and there are people on both sides who are ready to listen (and act) to make sure they have the resources needed to win elections. Ultimately, which party is in office is less important than whether or not you can reach agreement with whoever's elected. (This is intimately tied to Primaries and Party structure which we'll  happily break down and expose in another post).

So, Money = Attention. At the end of the day, campaigns cost money and whoever has the best campaign wins. That doesn't mean whoever has the most money wins, but traveling to meet voters, paying people to knock on doors, buying flyers and hiring staff isn't cheap. So, if one person (or group of people) can give you a lot, making them happy makes your life a lot easier. And this means that, if you have a lot of money to give, politicians will listen to you and make promises - just for you! As a big donor, you no longer have to worry about parties, you can worry about policies.

The real two party system isn't Democrats and Republicans, it's who has access and who doesn't. While voters are all stuck in a Red-Blue dichotomy, privileged individuals and sectors are dealing with their legislative priorities, supporting candidates based on a shared understanding of what the law should be.  Once you realize how politics works for the elite, you begin to see that NOT ignoring the party system would be ridiculous. And that being trapped in it is an illusion.

How can we break the two-party illusion? Once you see inside the system and understand the incentives, you can hack it, and that's how we came up with ShiftSpark. Instead of dumbing politics down into the old game of two-parties or making unrealistic promises about the power of petitions and "likes", ShiftSpark elevates small donors so they can do the same things big ones do. ShiftSpark puts small donors' money behind policy and only gives it to politicians who listen. That's how we believe we can change the game for the hundreds of thousands who invest their hard earned money in a better country.

Attention was intended to be for voters. The Founders didn't anticipate political parties. George Washington actually warned against the nascent parties, which were beginning to form during his Presidency, in his Farewell Address (conveniently broken down on wikipedia). But they also didn't anticipate campaigning - in fact direct campaigning by candidates was rather frowned upon as power hungry. But parties and campaigns came into being because they work. Well, we believe ShiftSpark is a way to put attention back on voters that works. We hope you agree.

No comments:

Post a Comment