Chris Taylor a Democratic legislator from Wisconsin made a foray into the depths of the ALEC machine in order to find out about who, what, why, and how ALEC has been able to dismantle our democracy with such efficiency.
Her first impression was the paranoia as she was required to show ID to get her registration badge. Then there was the automatic assumption that she was a Republican, as they are the most easily lured by the likes of ALEC. What she found most distressing was the efficiency that they had attained at getting corporate interests and politicians to subvert the will of the voters the politicians ostensibly represent.
Taylor: I was really impressed by their infrastructure. I mean, we would never duplicate something like this on the left because, first of all, we would never take instructions from corporations, but the coordination that they have between these policy think tanks, the money and the legislators, in terms of just driving an agenda, it’s incredible. I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m fascinated by it because I’ve never seen anything like it from the left. I was the public policy director at Planned Parenthood, so I’m very familiar with building infrastructure. We did a lot of that in the state of Wisconsin. But we have nothing that I know of on the national front that connects all these things.So she herself witnessed the corporate machine throwing money into getting their interests addressed at the cost of the voters health, lives, and safety. Nothing was sacrosanct if it did not create an economic advantage for the wealthy conglomerates that have nearly succeeded in destroying democracy as we know it.
It is a well-oiled machine. They’re really organized, they’re really coordinated and they have the resources. And they’re not afraid to push it when they have the opportunities. Now they have 24 state legislatures that are Republican controlled and they have Republican governors. So they’ve had incredible success. They’ve had 71 bills introduced just this year that make it harder for most people who are injured to access the courts. We’ve certainly seen that here in Wisconsin. That was one of the first things that Walker did when he came in was push this tort reform through.
They have been waiting for 40 years to do some of the things they’re doing right now. They’ve been developing these model policies, making these connections and building these relationships, and when they had an opportunity, like right here in Wisconsin, they pushed it. They did not hesitate to push their extreme agenda, even though it hurts people. It doesn’t help the average person. It hurts people to say we’re not going to invest in public education. It hurts people to deprive the government of revenue by these massive tax cuts to mostly rich people.
The only question we have left to ask is how do we as voters wrest democracy back from the marriage of corporations and the government?