DeVos confirmation proves democracy isn’t working

Buzz Davis

The DeVos confirmation as Secretary of Education is a symptom of our political system’s disease. Twenty U.S. senators who voted yes to confirm DeVos received from $23,000 to $98,000 from the DeVos family during the last election.

Millions of calls and emails, along with multiple petitions signed by hundreds of thousands of Americans, urged senators to vote no. But 50 of the 52 Republicans in the Senate voted yes.

Their message to the voters: “What, I can’t hear you, guess I’ll just vote with the money.”

It was as if they said to themselves, “Wow, DeVos is a bad/divisive/unprepared candidate, I am deluged by folks who do not want her; but Trump wants her . . . — and she does give me a lot of money.”

“I’ve given to everybody. Because that was my job,” Trump crowed at a rally last January. “I gotta give it to them. Because when I want something, I get it. When I call, they kiss my ass.”*

Senate Republicans followed their leader, held their nose and followed the money regardless of what citizens wanted.

The deluge of corporate and billionaires’ money into politics is polluting the river of Democracy. We’re all sick from drinking that water.

Our problem is not just Republicans. Democrats are just as bad at cocking a deaf ear to citizens and then following the money.  Jet fighters, drones, and defense contractors’ jobs are all part of the killing machines of war. Dems and Republicans scramble to get a piece of their action if it’ puts money/jobs in their district.

Fifty-eight percent of voters want single payer/Medicare for all. But neither Dems nor Republicans, when in power, will touch the issue because of all the insurance, healthcare and Wall Street money invested in for-profit healthcare and the campaign donations it generates.

We need public financing of all elections. We need to require TV and radio to carry a certain amount of free candidate airtime and outlaw private money in elections.

But to get there we need revolutionaries in power. Politics in America proves that citizen advocacy seldom works.

We have only the power of our vote, because the politicians don’t really wish to hear us. By voting we have the power to “throw the bums out!” In November 2018, the entire House of Representatives and 33 Senate seats are up for grabs.

Can we throw the bums out?  Yes, but to do this we need to change how union members and veterans vote.  Exit polls** showed that last November, 25 million members of union household voted and 44 percent voted for Republican House candidates. And the nation’s 18 million veterans gave 63 percent of their vote to Republican candidates.

Yet most veterans do not want to privatize VA hospitals, which is what they are pushing forward. They want the VA funded to meet today’s needs.

So if citizens are smart, they will organize around these two issues and help flip citizens from voting Republican in House races to voting Democratic — that is, if Democratic candidates are smart enough to advocate for what people really want.

We have 20 months to create a revolution to throw the bums out.  Find citizens in your community who are ready to fight back at

November 2018 is the target. We can use the power of our vote to change America. With control of the House and or Senate by aggressive, progressive Democrats and Greens, Trump will be blocked from destroying America, and we can start re-building our nation for our kids and ourselves.

Buzz Davis is a longtime progressive activist, a member of Veterans for Peace and a former VISTA Volunteer, Army officer, elected official, union organizer, impeachment organizer, executive vice president of Wisconsin AllianceForRetired Americans and retired state government planner. Contact him at