Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) went on MSNBC and became the Koch brothers worst nightmare by calling them out, and explaining how they are personally trying to destroy America’s Democratic institutions.
MSNBC’s Joy Reid asked Sanders why he was highlighting the Koch brothers personally.
Sen. Sanders said:
I fear very much, and I think people may think I am overstating this, I fear very much that this country is losing its democratic foundations and moving towards an oligarchic form of society where a handful of billionaires will control not only the economy, but the political life of this nation.
What you are looking at right now is an extreme right family who believe all the things that you just indicated. They don’t believe that we should simply not raise the minimum wage. These guys believe that we should do away with the minimum wage, and if you have to work for three bucks an hour or two bucks an hour, that’s freedom. That’s your freedom, and these guys believe that we should privatize Social Security, massive cuts in Medicaid, no support for women’s right, etc.
They believe the federal government is terrible, and they want to move toward a society where the big money interests control the economy and the political life. I highlighted the 1980 Libertarian platform for a simple reason. In 1980, that party got one percent of the vote and most people thought that these guys were pretty crazy, pretty extreme, pretty out there. If you looked at the issues they talked about then, their point of view, many of those same ideas are now mainstream Republican Party.
You talk about minimum wage. You have most Republicans now in Congress not only opposed to raising it, they believe we should abolish the concept of the minimum wage. That’s what the Koch brothers talked about 34 years ago. Social Security, Medicare, look at the Ryan budget. What you are seeing is as a result of the Koch brothers and others, a Republican Party moving from what used to be a right-center party, a moderate conservative party, to a right wing extremist party. That is probably the most important development in recent politics. The degree to which the Republican Party has moved to the right and has no stomach for moderates anymore.
What Bernie Sanders did on MSNBC is the Koch brothers worst nightmare. Charles and David Koch want to hide behind Supreme Court decisions like Citizens United and faux populist movements like the tea party. They know that the majority of the country doesn’t agree with their agenda, so they try their best not to be personally identified with exactly what they are trying to do.
The Kochs like to wrap their oligarchic vision in the flowery language of freedom, but their definition of freedom is not the same as yours and mine. In the Koch view, freedom means that the government works for the super rich, and the wealthy get to call all of the shots.
The great irony is that poor and working class Republicans who stand up for the Koch brothers will also be their victims. The dividing line for the Koch brothers isn’t partisanship. It’s money. Poor Republicans are going to be just as ravaged by the Koch agenda as poor Democrats.
Conservative billionaires aren’t trying to buy the government out of a sense of Democratic versus Republican. They want to own the government so that it benefits them at the expense of everyone else. The last thing that the Koch brothers want is to be personally linked to their agenda.
Sen. Sanders is putting their faces on something that America doesn’t want, and he is taking a giant step towards preserving our democratic foundation.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA.Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association