So, by now you know who the Koch brothers are. Between them it is estimated that they have a combined net worth of $22 Billion and that their father was one of the founding members of the John Birch Society. They have continued Papa's work by throwing money into all sorts of political corners through Americans for Prosperity and the Tea Party. The reach for these guys is incredible and goes all through our landscape... even down to the school board level and up through Congress. Their goals seem to include taking apart anything that government has a hand in helping us all do together. Here's one example of how this works:
One of the ways to combat them is to take a few pages out their playbook and go at it in the same way they do. Thom Hartmann had suggested this a while back.
Become the Precinct Chair in Democratic districts. What you then have is the power to name who will go on the ballot (especially for the primaries). The training ground for any of this would be local office, including school districts and city councils. The way this works is by, in many places, getting ten signatures and the local party has the list of possible Democrats to talk to (and ask to sign your petition) so that you can do this job of Precinct Chair. The way that the Tea Party took over the Republican party so effectively was that they put themselves into this position and then packed all or most of the possibilities with Tea Party candidates. If you did the same in the Democratic structure but putting forward Progressives and Liberals you would effectively leave centrist candidates on the sidelines. Then the dialog would shift a touch left. The reason, basically, that it is necessary to shift left is that the Republicans have shifted so far right as to be over the horizon. The little secret here is that it is not expensive for a normal person to get that level of control. What is difficult is seeing clearly enough to be effective at that job.