Bernie Sanders on the ‘Aggressiveness Among the Ruling Class’

Bernie Sanders on the ‘Aggressiveness Among the Ruling Class’

Bernie Sanders on the ‘Aggressiveness Among the Ruling Class’

The “money power” is on the march in our politics and the Vermont senator says the message of the billionaies is clear: “We want it all. And now we can buy it.”


Governor Scott Walker says that, with his victory in Tuesday’s recall election, he will “tell Wisconsin, tell our country, and we tell people all across the globe that voters really do want leaders who stand up and make the tough decisions…”

Actually, cutting taxes for CEOs and corporations and then balancing budgets on the backs of teachers, nurses and snowplow drivers isn’t exactly tough work. Redistribution of the wealth upward is common practice these days.

That said: Walker’s right about the fact that his victory speaks to the state, the nation and the world.

But what does it say?


US Senator Bernie Sanders has a wiser assessment than Walker, who raised and spent the better part of $35 million to defend himself—and had another $15 million spent in his favor by so-called “independent” groups. The whole process, say Sanders, is “hugely scary stuff.”

“There is,” the senator says, “an aggressiveness out there among the ruling class of this country, among the billionaires who are saying: ‘You know what? Ya, we got a whole lot now, but we want even more. And we don’t give a damn about the middle class. We don’t care about working families. We want it all. And now we can buy it.’ ”

Referring to Wisconsin as a “testing ground” for the no-limits campaign spending that has been ushered in by the US Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, Sanders said, “I have a deep concern that what we saw in Wisconsin can happen in any state throughout this country and in the presidential election.”

“I think that people do not fully understand the disaster that Citizens United was,” Sanders said of the 5–4 US Supreme Court decision in radio conversation with Ed Schultz. “What that did is open the floodgates so that billionaires like the Koch brothers and others are now prepared to spend unbelievable sums of money to elect extreme right-wing candidates.”

Sanders is a leading supporter of amending the Constitution in order to assure that all Americans—not just billionaires and corporations—have a voice in American politics.

“Right now, we are moving toward an oligarchic type of society where big money not only controls the economy—they’re going to have a very, very heavy say in who gets elected,” argues the independent senator from Vermont.

What Sanders describes is scary.

But, as he well notes, “grassroots Wisconsin” mustered 47 percent of the vote in opposition to the money power. And they gave the Democrats control of the state Senate, creating the first formal legislative check on Walker’s governorship since his election.

“This is not the time to [throw your hands up in despair]. This is not the time to do that,” he adds. “This is the time to organize for the taking on all of this money.”

As usual, the gentleman from Vermont is right.

There is no point in getting scared.

It is time to get organized to address that which scares us: an assault on nothing less than the basic underpinnings of democracy.

Dear reader,

I hope you enjoyed the article you just read. It’s just one of the many deeply reported and boundary-pushing stories we publish every day at The Nation. In a time of continued erosion of our fundamental rights and urgent global struggles for peace, independent journalism is now more vital than ever.

As a Nation reader, you are likely an engaged progressive who is passionate about bold ideas. I know I can count on you to help sustain our mission-driven journalism.

This month, we’re kicking off an ambitious Summer Fundraising Campaign with the goal of raising $15,000. With your support, we can continue to produce the hard-hitting journalism you rely on to cut through the noise of conservative, corporate media. Please, donate today.

A better world is out there—and we need your support to reach it.


Katrina vanden Heuvel
Editorial Director and Publisher, The Nation

Ad Policy