By Lou Dobbs
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Editor's note: Lou Dobbs' commentary appears every Wednesday on CNN.com.
NEW YORK (CNN) -- We're now less than a week away from our midterm elections, and Republicans and Democrats are down to their final tens of millions of dollars in media buys, their hyperbolic rhetoric all but expended and their candidates all but exhausted.
It's amazing what a mere $2.6 billion can buy in a democracy. That's what the two parties will have spent in their campaigns leading up to these midterm elections, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. And most of that money for Democrats and Republicans alike comes from corporate America. So what will be the outcome of this election? The only certainty is that corporate America will get what it's paid for, and that's more of the same.
Whether the Democrats or Republicans take control of the House and Senate, corporate America has just bought a license to outsource more middle-class jobs to cheap foreign labor markets, to continue unabated so-called free trade and the destruction of more manufacturing jobs, and most likely to promote amnesty for the 12 million to 20 million illegal aliens living in this country.
So, no, I'm not real excited about what some see as a potentially tectonic shift in political power in the House of Representatives or U.S. Senate.
While the name of the party in charge may change from Republican to Democrat, it's really only a branding issue. And just as my friend James Mtume says, it's still the same bird, just a different wing. And believe me, middle-class America will still be getting the bird.
Neither party at the national or local level is talking about what to do about the education crisis in our public schools. Both parties seem to think a 10-year plan to measure the decline of our schools through the No Child Left Behind law is an adequate response to what is an outright emergency.
Both parties seem happily content to give their multinational corporate masters exactly what they want in the form of so-called free trade, which has cost millions of middle-class Americans their jobs to outsourcing and off-shoring of manufacturing production to cheap overseas labor markets.
And God forbid we should disturb the orthodoxies of both parties that insist that we not secure our borders and ports, despite radical Islamist terrorist threats, the multibillion-dollar illegal drug trade and what is nothing less than an invasion of illegal aliens into this country.
Yes, I said "country." America really is a nation, but you couldn't convince those who lead the Democratic and Republican Parties of that. Both parties now see America as nothing more than an economy, a marketplace, and not a sovereign nation. They don't see you and me as citizens of this great nation; they see us as units of labor, consumers and taxpayers.
Corporate America long ago quit talking about corporate citizenship and corporate responsibility, and with both the Democratic and Republican Parties as its tools, corporate America wants you and me to forget that we are first citizens, and that America is first a nation.
Only 15 percent of eligible voters turned out to cast a ballot in this year's primary elections, according to an American University study. Never before have so few of us bothered to vote in primary elections. And it's no wonder. Our middle class is beginning to get the joke.
Most Americans understand that all the major decisions have already been made. It is now clear to all but those who will not see that both political parties and their corporate masters have placed our middle class in direct competition with the world's cheapest labor, leaving it only a tenuous and failing grip on the American Dream.
Until all of us who care about this great nation and the world's greatest democracy find the energy and commitment to insist on political choice and true representation in Washington, then the very idea of America will remain in peril.
Unfortunately, the choices we'll be permitted to make on November 7 will do little to mitigate that peril.
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