Leave it to Donald Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting nonexistent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 246,000 Americans and counting.
The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While COVID-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.
The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come—making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.
Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.
Leading Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.
The biggest beneficiaries are the party’s biggest patrons—the billionaire class, including the heads of the nation’s largest corporations and financial institutions, private-equity partnerships and hedge funds—whom a deeply divided nation serves by giving them unfettered access to the economy’s gains.
Their heist started four decades ago. According to a recent Rand study, if America’s distribution of income had remained the same as it was in the three decades following World War II, the bottom 90 percent would now be $47 trillion richer.
A low-income American earning $35,000 this year would be earning $61,000. A college-educated worker now earning $72,000 would be earning $120,000. Overall, the grotesque surge in inequality that began 40 years ago is costing the median American worker $42,000 per year.
The upward redistribution of $47 trillion wasn’t due to natural forces. It was contrived. As wealth accumulated at the top, so did political power to siphon off even more wealth and shaft everyone else.
Monopolies expanded because antitrust laws were neutered. Labor unions shriveled because corporations were allowed to bust unions. Wall Street was permitted to gamble with other peoples’ money and was bailed out when its bets soured even as millions lost their homes and savings. Taxes on the top were cut, tax loopholes widened.
When COVID-19 hit, Big Tech cornered the market, the rich traded on inside information and the Treasury and the Fed bailed out big corporations but let small businesses go under. Since March, billionaire wealth has soared, while most Americans have become poorer.
How could the oligarchy get away with this in a democracy where the bottom 90 percent have the votes? Because the bottom 90 percent are bitterly divided.
Long before Trump, the GOP suggested to white working-class voters that their real enemies were Black