There has been considerable attention to GOP efforts to suppress the Democratic vote, through various legislative attempts to make it more difficult for core Democrats to vote. There has been comparatively less said about the positive effect on the future for Republicans, if enough common sense members of the GOP deny the radicals what they are attempting to do: use the massive advantage of unlimited corporate donations to advance an agenda through activated extremist groups.
A recent article in the Orlando Sentinel, Special-interest money is sweet for House candidates, shows exactly how this works out. "The Republican candidates in Orlando's close races for seats in the state Legislature have found a sweet ally in U.S. Sugar Corp. Records show the Clewiston-based agribusiness has donated $5,000 each to the re-election campaigns of state Reps. Chris Dorworth, R-Lake Mary, and Scott Plakon, R-Longwood, both of whom face tough Democratic challengers this fall. The company has given another $2,500 apiece to Republicans Bob Brooks and Marco Pena, each of whom are in tight races for open seats in the state House. On the other side of the spectrum, the Florida Education Association and more than a dozen local teachers unions have together steered $13,400 to Karen Castor Dentel, the Democrat running against Plakon, and $5,000 to Mike Clelland, the Democrat challenging Dorworth. And they have donated $4,250 to Linda Stewart and $2,750 to Joe Saunders, the Democrats seeking the open seats. Thanks largely to donations from businesses such as U.S. Sugar, the four GOP contenders have together raised more than $1.3 million — close to triple the $470,000 raised by the union-backed Democrats.
The Florida Chamber of Commerce, for instance, asked candidates seeking its help to first answer a 68-question survey. Among its questions: Whether candidates would support restricting the number of issues on which the teachers union can collectively bargain, limiting lawsuits against insurance companies and making it easier to build nuclear power plants. The business-backed chamber, through its various affiliates, has given $5,000 each to Plakon and Pena, plus $3,500 to Brooks and $1,500 to Dorworth. U.S. Sugar is one of the biggest donors to the Florida Chamber."
The report ends, "I think it's absolutely critical voters learn where these candidates are getting their funding from," said Ben Wilcox, research director with Tallahassee-based Integrity Florida. "Because people that are funding these campaigns aren't doing it in the interest of good government. They're doing it in the interest of government being good to them."
The "them" in question is not just large corporations with their agendas, like Big Sugar, seeking control through the Republican Party. It is the clear ambition of corporate money to use extremist grass roots groups to advance an agenda that is deeply harmful to America: advancing concentrated wealth and power of corporations, reinforcing economic dislocation, income inequality and divisions within our society, and fostering conditions for social unrest.
We need a strong Republican Party, but the one visible today is extremist at its core. Although Mitt Romney has retooled his message to appeal to a wider universe of voters following a miserable primary campaign, voters should cast their attention to the spectacle of extremism on display during the GOP primary. That is the energy that Republican voters will be endorsing, unless they withhold their vote.
Soul-searching within the GOP will arrive only through a rebuke at the polls by mainstream voters who reject the extremism in our midst.