The combination of democracy and capitalism is causing a dilemma for this country's voters. As shown in a recent study, the wealthy have little or no concern for those less well-off. The welfare of the poor and the middle class is not a concern of theirs.
This contradicts the hope of many voters who believe that one who has mastered the system will use those same skills on their behalf. These voters have consistently voted for rich candidates hoping and expecting to share in their success. Now, we all know that is not going to happen. "Class warfare" may be hyperbole, but there is a more than a grain of truth in it.
Certainly, there are a few wealthy people who are deeply concerned with the welfare of the poor and the average earner. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet come readily to mind. We know them because they are exceptions to the rule. Most of the wealthy are more like the Koch brothers and the Walmart heirs — contemptuous of the lesser earners.
So if the middle class or poor voter doesn't vote for the wealthy candidate, who should get their vote? Middle class and poor candidates could theoretically represent them but the problem is such candidates are often bought. Perhaps "bought" is too harsh a term. Maybe "financially influenced" is more digestible.
We see this repeatedly. Illinois governors seem to have "go directly to jail" cards. The mayors of Detroit and Baltimore left in disgrace. The mayor of Washington recently sided with Walmart over his own employees. Buying — pardon — "influencing" a member of Congress is more expensive, but just as common and even more effective.
Theoretically, a middle-class office holder could resist temptation. A cynic would say there are not enough such honest, courageous people to fill the offices up for election. An observer would predict that such candidates would attract a withering financial opposition such as befell Russ Feingold. The solution to this problem is not readily apparent as its effect is concealed and the public distracted by mindless entertainment.
William L. Akers, Windsor MillCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun