George Santos based his successful 2022 New York Congressional campaign on lies about much of his life, admitting to The New Yok Post, “I’m embarrassed and sorry for having embellished my résumé.” That did not prevent him from being sworn into office and getting daily press coverage.

Marjorie Taylor Greene gained publicity by accosting Parkland mass shooting survivor Paul Hogg on a Washington, D.C., street and calling him a “coward” for ignoring her. She advocated executing Democrats and trial for agents of the “deep state.” She is also an ardent believer of “Q.” She twice won election to Congress from Georgia and is also a media star.

Greene is one in four Republicans and an overall 16 percent or 44 million of Americans who are “Q” acolytes, the Public Religion Research Institute reported. According to U.S. News, they believe: “Satan-worshipping pedophiles running a global sex-trafficking operation control the U.S. government, media and financial institutions. A storm is coming to sweep away the elites and restore the rightful leader of the country. And things are so off track, true American patriots may have to resort to violence in order to save the country.” “True Americans” tried just that on Jan. 6, 2021, including adherents of the unknown person or persons (or AI?) labeled “Q” – belief based purely on faith.

Republican governors and Legislatures are waging a “culture war” which is just as fake as Santos’ résumé and Greene’s politics and which has set Americans against one another with sustained attacks on the LGBTQI+ community — “don’t say gay” — and critical race theory — “don’t say Black.” High school student athletes’ menstrual history may have to be disclosed. Certain books are being banned or covered up to avoid the possibility of incurring up to five years in jail and $5,000 fines. Public universities, judges and company workers can no longer be exposed to diversity training.

Extreme-right Americans have formed an alliance with European counterparts to promote authoritarianism as the solution to what they see as failed democracy, while professing abhorrence of socialism and communism. Pennsylvania Rep. Guy Reschenthaler recently pressed California Rep. Maxine Waters on the topic and, according to The Washington Post, this was part of the exchange:

Reschenthaler: “You can’t condemn socialism? In your opening remarks, you were talking about [Vladimir] Putin, Kim Jong Un and Xi [Jinping]. You know what they all have in common, right?” Waters: “Trump.”

Trump himself continues to fuel the divisiveness which such asinine positions have created with his false claim of election fraud that cap a four-year stay in the White House during which he uttered more than 30,000 lies. That has not prevented him from getting major media coverage.

Meanwhile, the real problems of the nation, such as systemic racism, lack of health care, homelessness and, particularly, wealth inequity receive little attention. Between 2017 and 2020 – during the Trump presidency – the number of American billionaires rose from 565 to 629 and their collective wealth soared from $2.7 trillion to $3.2 trillion, Forbes reported. Average household wealth, however, increased only marginally in 30 years, from $101,820 in 1989 to $107,619 in 2017. As gas prices shot up, ExxonMobil reported a record $55.7 billion profit and Chevron a record $36.5 billion, for 2022, The Washington Post reported.

And, as this column noted in 2021, while the federally mandated hourly wage then was $7.25, that of a CEO ranged between $369 and $9,000). Billionaires’ average hourly earnings ranged from $1 million to $4 million. There is no reason to believe those figures have changed much since then.

On the other hand, African Americans households, comprising about 16 percent of the nation, owned only three percent of its wealth, while European Americans — 68 percent of the population — had nearly 87 percent, the Federal Reserve’s 2019 Survey of Consumer Finances reported. African Americans owned only 16 percent of businesses with employees and, in the first half of 2021, received only 1.2 percent of total venture capital investment, CNN said.

And now a network of billionaires headed by Charles Koch has announced it will pump what is expected to be hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2024 campaign to stop Trump from becoming president again, The Post reported. The Koch-controlled Americans for Prosperity (AFP) will mobilize “a million grassroots activists across all 50 states, data targeting technology known as i360, and the Latino outreach organization Libre.” Nothing was said about African Americans.

That is not surprising. The campaign to divide ordinary Americans so they can be easily manipulated started more than half a century ago, to setting European Americans and, later, Latino Americans against African Americans as part of a counter-revolution against progressive gains such as Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. This has not been gaining much attention, either.

Trump is the focus not because Koch and his allies dislike his malignant narcissistic personality, egomania and authoritarian leanings. It is because they cannot control him, as seen in his Jan. 20 warning to the House Republican leadership pushing President Joe Biden for budget cuts as part of any deal to raise the national debt ceiling: “Under no circumstances should Republicans vote to cut a single penny from Medicare or Social Security. Do not cut the benefits our seniors worked for and paid for their entire lives. Save Social Security. Don’t destroy it!", Trump posted on social media as a direct challenge to his detractors in his party.

Tens of millions of the voters whom the AFP will go after benefit from Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid. But the Koch network has decades of experience manipulating people, as was seen in the drive that nearly scuttled the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare – even though it provides affordable health insurance to tens of millions of Americans.