In the past, corporations and rich donors were savvy enough to split their giving to both political parties so that both sides would have a financial incentive to protect them. Yes, they might lean more to the Republican side, but they gave enough to the Democrats to get them properly motivated to look out for corporate interests.
This is what has led to the two parties playing good cop-bad cop with us for the past 30 years. Republicans are the bad cops who rough up the middle class and the Democrats come in to sooth you over as they pretty much go along with very similar "pro-business" policies.
But now there is an important change in that dynamic. Multinational corporations seem to have pushed their chips all in on the Republican side. The Chamber of Commerce is planning to spend $75 million in these elections and 85% of it will go to Republicans.
Of course, there is a huge downside to this for the average American. The Republicans have an enormous financial advantage because of this and many other "independent" groups like Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS piling on money collected from some of the richest people in the country. This is their class warfare to make sure the top 1% and their tax cuts are protected. And they seem to have chosen a very good time with the anti-incumbent feeling in the air so strong and the economy hurting so much.
So, what's the upside? Well, they've given Democrats no incentive not to fight back (which is their usual M.O. in the good cop-bad cop games they've been playing until now). Now that the Democrats feel significantly endangered and there is no good argument for holding back, it's game on.
If the Democrats manage to hold on, for the first time in a long time they would have an incentive to fight back against a system that is rigged in favor of the rich and the powerful. Because those same folks just declared war on them. If they don't join the battle soon, they are going to get wiped out in 2012. If you thought business interests spent a lot of money in this election, wait till you get a load of 2012.
To be clear, of course not all business interests are nefarious. They are a very legitimate constituency to consider when making policy. But when corporations use their power to kill a bill that would have stopped subsidies for offshoring jobs, then that is exactly the kind of abuse of power that is hurting this country. And that just happened last month.
Can you believe our politicians give tax breaks to companies to offshore our jobs? Well, that's the current state of things, because the system is deeply corrupt and both sides were bought off. Were. Now there is some hope the Democrats won't be in the next term.
Of course, the Democrats could be wiped off the board next month. Or the lesson they learn from this election could be that they have to suck up to corporate interest even harder. But so far, the indications are good. President Obama is fighting back on the campaign trail. Nancy Pelosi has had some harsh words for these corporate donors. And even Tim Kaine compared secret corporate giving to Watergate. You know when Tim Kaine gets tough with corporate funders there is a sea change.
So, the silver lining is that after this election we have some chance of getting the Democratic Party back. That for the first time in decades they might be properly motivated to be on our side and looking out for us instead of their corporate donors - because they no longer have those donors.