Leave it to Donald Trump and his Republican allies to spend more energy fighting nonexistent voter fraud than containing a virus that has killed 250,000 Americans and counting.

The cost of this misplaced attention is incalculable. While COVID-19 surges to record levels, there’s still no national strategy for equipment, stay-at-home orders, mask mandates or disaster relief.

The other cost is found in the millions of Trump voters who are being led to believe the election was stolen and who will be a hostile force for years to come — making it harder to do much of anything the nation needs, including actions to contain the virus.

Trump is continuing this charade because it pulls money into his newly formed political action committee and allows him to assume the mantle of presumed presidential candidate for 2024, whether he intends to run or merely keep himself the center of attention.

Leading Republicans such as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell are going along with it because donors are refilling GOP coffers.

The biggest beneficiaries are the party’s biggest patrons — the billionaire class, including the heads of the nation’s largest corporations and financial institutions, private-equity partnerships and hedge funds — whom a deeply divided nation serves by giving them unfettered access to the economy’s gains.

Their heist started four decades ago. According to a recent RAND Corporation study, if America’s distribution of income had remained the same as it was in the three decades following World War II, the bottom 90 percent would now be an estimated $47 trillion richer.

A low-income American earning $33,000 this year would be earning $61,000. A college-educated worker now earning $72,000 would be earning $120,000. Overall, the grotesque surge in inequality that began 40 years ago is costing the median American worker $42,000 per year.

The upward redistribution of $47 trillion wasn’t due to natural forces. It was contrived. As wealth accumulated at the top, so did political power to siphon off even more wealth and shaft everyone else.

Monopolies expanded because antitrust laws were neutered. Labor unions shriveled because corporations were allowed to bust unions. Wall Street was permitted to gamble with other people’s money and was bailed out when its bets soured, even as millions lost their homes and savings. Taxes on the top were cut, tax loopholes widened.

When COVID-19 hit, Big Tech cornered the market, the rich traded on inside information, and the Treasury and the Fed bailed out big corporations but let small businesses go under. Since March, billionaire wealth has soared while most Americans have become poorer.

How could the oligarchy get away with this in a democracy where the bottom 90 percent have the votes? Because the bottom 90 percent are bitterly divided.

Long before Trump, the GOP suggested to white working-class voters that their real enemies were Black people, Latinos, immigrants, “coastal elites,” bureaucrats and “socialists.” Trump rode their anger and frustration into the White House with more explicit and incendiary messages. He’s still at it with his bonkers claim of a stolen election.

The oligarchy surely appreciates the Trump-GOP tax cuts, regulatory rollbacks and the most business-friendly Supreme Court since the early 1930s. But the Trump-GOP’s biggest gift has been an electorate more fiercely split than ever.

Into this melee comes Joe Biden, who speaks of being “president of all Americans” and collaborating with the Republican Party. But the GOP doesn’t want to collaborate. When Biden holds out an olive branch, McConnell and other Republican leaders will respond just as they did to Barack Obama — with more warfare, because that maintains their power and keeps the big money rolling in.

The president-elect aspires to find a moderate middle ground. This will be difficult because there’s no middle. The real divide is no longer left versus right but the bottom 90 percent versus the oligarchy.

Biden and the Democrats will better serve the nation by becoming the party of the bottom 90 percent — of the poor and the working middle class, of Black and white and brown, and of all those who would be $47 trillion richer today had the oligarchy not taken over America.

This would require that Democrats abandon the fiction of political centrism and establish a countervailing force to the oligarchy — and, not incidentally, sever their own links to it.

They’d have to show white working-class voters how badly racism and xenophobia have hurt them as well as people of color. And change the Democratic narrative from kumbaya to economic and social justice.

Easy to say, hugely difficult to accomplish. But if today’s bizarre standoff in Washington is seen for what it really is, there’s no alternative.

Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley and the author of “The System: Who Rigged It, How We Fix It.”

(34) comments


Ever notice how some of the comments from the right always appear late, the drive by slinging of delusional nonsense. They also can never support their claims.


Reich is a vindictive, ornery little dude. He could well be the Poster Child of the Democratic Party.

Greg F

Is that all you could come up with? What your idiot is doing is going to be the new normal. Do you want chaos for decades to come? Get bet. You are the opposite of your handle. Veritas my ass.


And the Great Green Gobs of Greasy Grimy Gopher Guts Trump is the poster man/child for the GGGGGGG Republican Party, the most disgraceful cowards in the History of America.


veritas, Do you regard vindictiveness as an undesirable attribute for someone in a position of leadership?


The public does Robert, but you don't care about stolen elections as long as the dems. are doing the stealing


[thumbup] jersey. Systemic corruption is on display.


Greg F

Bosco, they let you out this late? Still on the meds, I see.


Dr Fed Up GregF....still being an ass, I see. KMA.



Thumbs up to jerseyboy666??? How LOW can you GO??? 😂🤣😷


Sure Bosco - got nothing to back it up. Take some of that right wing salve and rub it in your bruised ego

Greg F

Joisycow...you’re still sober enough to comment? Good for you.


Stolen elections- Show me one shred of evidence- Trump, with Barr doing his bidding, has zero. But you, jersey, seem to have a Rudy complex. Talk about sheep following a con man.


I really hope the “law and order” President is tried and convicted of election interference. What this disturbed man is doing is utterly anti-democratic and un-American. This isn’t supposed to happen here. Trump is a cancer on America.


We are being governed by a de facto confederate administration. What’s happening is unconscionable. Republicans, put a STOP to this insanity now.

Comment deleted.

pd: He's got more brain power in his littlest fingernail than you have in you entire existence.


the Trump\Giuliani clown car must have run over the spike strips, all their tires are flat, as are their arguments and ideas... My advice to them...GTFO......

Comment deleted.

Wow. A Koch- backed troll!

Comment deleted.

Hey pdl, kind of like you lapping up the "fake news" mantra or " the election was rigged" nonsense. Keep trying to rub that right wing salve on your wounds although it doesn't seem to be working. What a strange world you must live in. Anything new popping up on Parler or QAnon?

Comment deleted.

Pdl should be banned from the comments.

Comment deleted.

Tell us, Piddle, what specific parts of the article do you consider "rubbish"? Or do you just consider anything bad written about Dear Loser to be "commie", like the right-wing propaganda wants you to believe?

Comment deleted.
Greg F

Really pee-dl? That's all you have to say? Your guy is obviously so despirate to avoid the charges he's facing once he is out that he is committing treason and subversion to get out of them and cares nothing of the damage he does to the country and its people along the way. 3000 cases in MD. 250K deaths now total and more, with a long way to go since he is doing NOTHING to stop this at all. You are part of the problem, not the solution with your idiotic ramblings and pea-brained statements that are like someone out of kindergarten trying to dis Einstein's Theory of Relativity....which to clear it for you would be pretty worthless in any respect. Go back to your rubber room.

Greg F

When you go in saying if you lose, it’s rigged, then you lose...you have shown there is no intent to ever accept reality. This charade of sad clownish behavior is going to stain trump and his legacy for centuries as a horrible person in every respect.

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