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11/02/2016 11:07 AM     print story email story  

At Stake In This Election: The Truth

Rona Fried

Editorial

According to polls, 52% of Americans are stressed by this election. While the pundits pronounced "game over" for Trump over the past few weeks, I kept biting my nails. 

And here we are. In North Carolina, we've got a Republican incumbant for Senate, Richard Burr, who promises to block Supreme Court nominees for Hillary's entire term if she's elected. In Wisconsin, we've got Republican incumbent Ron Johnson who wants impeachment hearings to start the day Hillary takes office. Others say hearings - on anything they can think of - will haunt Hillary throughout her term.

Also in North Carolina is the right-wing "Voter Integrity Project" which is trying to purge thousands of people from the voter rolls, while polling places in key minority areas have been reduced from dozens to just one. 

We've got Trump inciting supporters to "watch the 'rigged' voting process," and white nationalists happily readying to oblige across the country. 

And, of course, the FBI has chimed in at the last minute, giving Trump more fodder against "crooked" Hillary. Meanwhile, his very own companies destroyed emails defying court orders, reports Newsweek. "Over the course of decades, Donald Trump's companies have systematically destroyed or hidden thousands of emails, digital records and paper documents demanded in official proceedings."  

Election 2016 

Super Pacs, Dark Money Pours In

All this is being stoked by unlimited cash flowing into state, House and Senate races. Of the $557 million spent so far in 10 key Senate contests, 51% is from "outside groups," according to Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.

"A disproportionate amount benefits Republicans," they say (read Koch Brothers, Chamber of Commerce) and Super Pac money largely comes from a small group of wealthy donors.  

This and the emergence of right-wing conspiracy theorists as the "truth-tellers" has a Guardian columnist warning we may be entering the "Trumpocene" - the climax of the fact-free era we've been experiencing in recent years. 

Get this: the Drudge Report is ranked #2 in the US among "media" with 1.37 billion page views a month, and conspiracy site Infowars is seeing 36 million views a month, up from 26 million in February, thanks to Trump. With the head of Breitbart "News" at the helm of Trump's campaign, that website's audience has grown from 89 million to 143 million views a month since February.

As Hurricane Matthew barrelled down on millions of people, Drudge and Rush Limbaugh accused the government of hyping it "to sell climate change." 

And more and more people are convinced this endless stream of misinformation is the "truth."

If people really looked at how Republicans vote, they would see a different story, Ralph Nader points out:

"Repeatedly, these Republicans, often a unanimous 100% of them, in a bizarre kind of corporate-conditioned response, vote in favor of corporations shipping American jobs overseas rather than voting to protect American workers. This Republican-controlled congress was intent on defending and increasing massive tax breaks for the wealthiest at the expense of lower income families, attacking Medicare, social security, and other programs assisting elderly Americans, even assaulting women's health and safety, opposing stronger food safety enforcement and preventing toxic pollution controls while at the same time protecting rapacious student loan companies and keeping victims of mortgage companies and banks defenseless against onslaughts of insurmountable debt accumulation."

They "twice voted unanimously against affirming that climate change is real" and have "voted unanimously against even considering a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's 5-4 Citizen's United decision that opened the floodgates of big corporate money in elections. They continue to protect secret money in elections and twice voted against even allowing a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act giving women new tools for equal pay for equal work.

100% of  House Republicans voted against allowing a vote to let American workers earn just seven job-protected paid sick days each year" and "against even bringing up a bill to stop big companies from dumping their U.S. charter and fleeing abroad to avoid paying their fair share of taxes."

These bills are almost always blocked by Democrats in the Senate, Nader says, so people rarely hear about them, and the media rarely mentions them ... not that average voters would believe them anyway, thanks to Trump's assaults. 

And what about all those coal miners Trump and his party supposedly care so much about? Even in bankruptcy, coal executives are making bonuses and contributing to GOP campaigns while they try to rid themselves of coal miner pensions. Senate Majority Leader McConnell (R-KY) has repeatedly blocked the Miners' Protection Act  - a bill that would ensure pensions and health benefits to coal miners in his state. Hillary favors the bill.

But who's listening?

Read our articles, Trump Isn't the Only Problem, It's His Choices for Cabinet, Supreme Court and Renewable Energy, Animal Protection Referendums on the Ballot.

Read, The Vengeful World of Donald Trump, and Why It Matters.

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Rona Fried is CEO of SustainableBusiness.com. 



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