Democrats have long rang the warning bell over the increased corporate interest in our political system. From ALEC influencing laws to the Koch brothers buying of our politicians, Citizens United opened a floodgate of dirty campaign financing. If you thought the 2010 and 2012 elections were heavily influenced by corporate America, just wait until this year’s midterm election. The outpouring of dishonest ads have already started, and they are being orchestrated by none other than the Koch brothers and their SuperPAC, Americans for Prosperity.
The primary goal of the Koch brothers is to attack politicians, especially incumbent Democrats who support ObamaCare. The law, which took full effect on January 1, 2014, has already allowed millions to gain access to free or affordable healthcare. This puts Democrats in a positive light with the American public, and the Koch’s simply cannot allow that. They have made it their personal mission to demonize the ACA and turn the public’s perception upside down.
Starting today, residents in Arkansas will see a three-week ad campaign against Democratic Senator Mark Pryor for his support of the Affordable Care Act. Pryor is not exactly a far left Senator. In fact, he should be supported by the Koch brothers, given that he broke with President Obama and supported Wal-Mart by speaking out against a minimum wage increase.
Also being targeted by Koch cash is Senator Kay Hagan (D-NC) and Senator Jeanne Shasheen (D-NH). The ads against them will feature women “speaking in personal terms” about their concerns over the Affordable Care Act and raise questions about their support of the law.
“Even [Democratic] Senators who aren’t incumbents, in states that will be tough for Republicans – like Bruce Braley in Iowa and Gary Peters in Michigan – are getting hit with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of ads. The total so far:
As of this week, Americans for Prosperity has spent more than $27 million on ads since August, putting it on pace to far outstrip its overall $38.5 million budget for the 2010 midterms.
It is an unprecedented move, especially since it is only February. With 9 months to go until the election, Americans for Prosperity risks several problems.
First and foremost, they risk voter fatigue. Much like what happened in 2012, they took awful candidates and tried to sell them hard to the American public. Eventually, it turned into a clown show. Many were caught back peddling and flip-flopping, because the more you say, the more likely you are to screw up. There is only so much the public can take before they are turned off by the message.
The other risk the Koch’s are taking is showing Democrats their battle strategy. 9 months is a lifetime in politics, and there are only so many issues that will get voters into the booth. By sitting on the sideline for a while, Republicans will have no poker face for an “October surprise.”
However, that doesn’t mean that it isn’t cause for concern for the Democratic Party. There is a sweet spot where you can raise enough doubt, and if it goes unanswered, it can suddenly become the truth. If there is one thing the Republican Party is good at, it is this.
That means Democrats must start fundraising now, and hard.
“The main outside group counterbalancing [Americans for Prosperity] is the Senate Majority PAC, which spends to elect [Democrats] to the Senate. Ty Matsdorf, a spokesman for the group says this:
“It’s unprecedented. It means that groups like ours have to go up early as well. We can’t let those attacks go unchallenged.”
The 2010 midterms were brutal for the Democratic Party. With the recent Citizens United ruling by the Supreme Court, Republicans were able to raise an unheard of amount of “dark money.” When added to voter suppression laws and general apathy of the American public, the Tea Party was able to infiltrate the government and bring it to a halt.
2014 has the potential to make 2010 look likes child’s play. With a well established fund raising machine, corporations can truly run the show and “own the place.”
There is just one tiny problem. The Koch brothers only represent 2 votes. This is why it is so important to fight back against the lies, spread the truth and, most importantly, VOTE!
And, perhaps there is a silver lining to all of this. In 9 very important races for the House of Representatives, the Democratic challengers out-raised Republican incumbents. It is not impossible to take back the House of Representatives and maintain the Senate. The fundraising numbers show that. It will be a battle against the Koch brothers and other corporate interests. Democrats must be willing to step up and push back against the misinformation. The 2014 midterm election will be a pivotal moment in our history. One that decides if we move the country forward following President Obama’s lead or keep with the obstructionist policies of the Republican Party.
Thom Hartmann talks to a Professor about income inequality and the Koch’s. This is the kind of misinformation and ignorance the Democratic Party will have to fight.