Pennsylvania Republican Pat Toomey received something like $60K in campaign contributions from Betsy DeVos, the absurdly unqualified Bible-humping wingnut billionaire Trump nominated for Education Secretary. DeVos is such an obviously bad pick that even squishy Dems like Manchin oppose her candidacy, and if Dems can peel off one more Republican, they can sink her nomination. But Toomey isn’t going to be that vote; he’s paid to believe (or at least say) that DeVos is a “great pick.”
One smart Philly teacher came up with the idea to “buy” Toomey’s vote back from DeVos by crowdfunding an amount greater than what DeVos doled out to the senator. Maybe this is the pathetic future of American “democracy” — middle-class folks banding together to strategically redeem elected officials from the fat cats who collect them by the dozen.
People on the left have been screaming about the corrupting influence of money in politics as long as I can remember — with good reason. But it’s getting worse, not better. The “economically anxious” who were supposedly fed up with a rigged system just empowered a conman who is rolling back Wall Street reforms, undertaking graft on an unimaginably huge scale, stocking his cabinet with robber barons and planning to appoint Supreme Court justices who will further entrench bad law like Citizens United. None of this seems to trouble the geniuses who voted for Trump, so I don’t think we can count on them to help us address the problem.
Maybe showily outbidding plutocrats on a selective basis is our only recourse. The “Buy Toomey’s Vote” thing is a stunt, of course — the funds will go to education-focused charities. Only plutocrats like DeVos can legally purchase the votes of US senators. But the crowdfunding thing sure did underscore the moral bankruptcy of the system in a way that’s hard to ignore. We’ll need creativity like that if we’re to ever wrest our government back from these creeps.