It’s been a banner week for far-right trickery in the upper Midwest. In Wisconsin, the state GOP is moving forward with their Machiavellian plan to run fake Democratic candidates in the state’s upcoming elections. On the other side of Lake Michigan, the Koch-funded front group Americans for Prosperity has been caught posting fake eviction notices on homes in Detroit. According to The Detroit Free Press the counterfeit eviction notices have “created chaos” in Southwest Detroit, where residents have been understandably frightened and confused by the bogus letters.
Misinformation and irresponsible scare tactics? Yep, that sounds like the Americans for Prosperity we know. Part of a coordinated anti-middle class, anti-union network, these corporate-funded groups have funneled millions of dollars into campaigns pushing tax cuts for the rich, fighting unemployment benefits, opposing workers’ rights, and, most recently, privatizing Medicare.
But why would Americans for Prosperity wreak havoc on communities already hit hard by the Great Recessions? The group is opposed to the NITC bridge project, which would link Detroit and Windsor, Ontario. They’re fighting the project, which is even supported by Michigan’s Republican governor, because a privately owned bridge stands to lose toll revenue when an additional bridge is built—an interesting stance for a group dedicated to singing the praises of “the free market.”
What happened in Detroit this week is just one example of a larger trend that’s taken shape across the country, day after day over the last decade. Groups like Americans for Prosperity, the Center for Union Facts, FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (the names sound so benign, don’t they?) have bombarded the country with so much misinformation that it becomes difficult to separate fact from fiction. Nevertheless, as we have seen in Wisconsin, Americans aren’t fooled that easily—and the middle class is starting to fight back.