House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday said the United States would be ceded to plutocrats and oligarchs if Republicans win next month’s election, referring to the flood of pro-GOP corporate election spending.
“This election is also about our democracy,” Pelosi said on MSNBC’s “Countdown With Keith Olbermann.” “If they win — which I fully intend to stop them from doing — but if they win, it would mean we are now a plutocracy and oligarchy.”
“Whatever these few wealthy, secret, unlimited sources of money are can control our entire agenda,” she said.
The first female speaker struck an unmistakably ominous tone about wealthy groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS spending a fortune bankrolling campaigns — overwhelmingly for Republicans — while concealing their sources of funding.
“It is essential and fundamental to our democracy that we not have it be a wholly owned subsidiary of these corporations, and as a part of the Chamber of Commerce,” Pelosi said.
The influx of unlimited and secret election spending, made possible by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling this January, has led to rich business interests mobilizing in an unprecedented way to topple Democrats from power and back the most conservative candidates.
Pelosi regretted that Democrats failed to pass the Disclose Act, which would force election donors to reveal their identities, and blamed Republicans for unanimously blocking it.
“We couldn’t get one Republican to say disclosure is the right thing to do,” she said.
Republicans argue that money spent on influencing elections is merely about free speech and should not be restricted or examined too closely.
By the reckonings of some election analysts — including the New York Times’ Nate Silver and Stuart Rothenberg — Republicans appear poised to win back enough seats to retake the House of Representatives.
Pelosi’s remarks, less than two weeks away from a highly consequential election, reflect Democrats’ strategy in the final push to warn voters that the fabric of American society would be at risk if the current crop of Republicans take control.
“They give new meaning to the term ‘Buy American,'” she said. “They want to buy these elections.”
The videos are from MSNBC’s Countdown, broadcast Thursday, Oct. 21.