Against the Current, No. 112, September/October 2004
The War and the Vote
— The Editors
The U.S. Military Under Stress
— Todd Ensign
Untying the Knots
— Jill Shenker
A Selective History of Marriage in the United States
— Jill Shenker
The Pension Crisis
— Malik Miah
Free the Cuban Five!
— Michael Steven Smith
Why Cuba Is Different?
— David Finkel
Nicaragua Twenty-five Years Later
— Dianne Feeley
The Caribbean Left's Legacy
— Sara Abraham interviews Eusi Kwayana
German Social Democracy in Crisis
— Bill Smaldone
Review Essay: Reutherism Redux
— Steve Early
- More Dialogue on the Elections
A Mystery in the 2004 Elections
— Peter Camejo
Green Party Convention: A Party Divided
— Ann Menasche
Democracy Is the Key
— Ann Menasche interviews Peter Camejo
Elections & the Democrats
— Joel Jordan & Robert Brenner
— Alan Wald
Black and White on the Inside
— Christopher Phelps
- In Memoriam
Remembering Dave Dellinger
— David McReynolds
Farouk Abdel-Muhti, 1947-2004
— John Leslie
HERE IS A mystery to the 2004 presidential election. As we enter the second half of 2004, there is massive popular opposition to the war in Iraq and to the USA Patriot Act — possibly a majority of Americans. Yet these same people are about to vote in overwhelming numbers for John Kerry for president.
But John Kerry and his running mate, John Edwards, gave President Bush 18 standing ovations in January, voted for the war, insist on continuing the occupation of Iraq against its people’s desires, want to increase the number of troops and nations occupying Iraq, voted for “unconditional support” to Bush for his conduct of the war, and backed Bush by voting against the U.S. Constitution for the Patriot Act.
The only explanation for tens of millions voting against their heartfelt opinions is the lack of free elections in America. There is no runoff election. Without runoffs people are trapped. They fear expressing their true opinions. If they vote for what they are for they are told they will only elect Bush. They must learn to vote against themselves, to accept the con game of a two-party system.
People are taught not to vote FOR what they believe but AGAINST an individual. An unpopular policy once identified with an individual can be continued by replacing the individual, keeping the policy with modifications. In replacing Bush, Kerry pledges to more effectively forward the same policy of imperial domination.
If runoff elections existed, tens of millions would vote against both Bush and Kerry and for peace. Once the myth of invulnerability of the two-party system is broken, the dam that impedes electoral democracy will collapse. Already 25% of Americans are no longer registered Democratic or Republican; they seek alternatives.
The Democrats’ fear of Ralph Nader is rooted in the programmatic conflict between their party’s stance and their supporters. This is the real story of the 2004 elections. This mystery is never written about in the media — it is America’s dark secret.
Theft in Broad Daylight
The 2000 presidential election was stolen when some 60,000 people, primarily African Americans, had their right to vote illegally revoked in Florida. The film “Fahrenheit 911” opens showing one African-American Congressperson after another asking for an investigation. But their cry for justice was quashed because not one Senator, not one Democrat — not Paul Wellstone, Barbara Boxer, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry or John Edwards — would stand up for free elections.
Three-and-a-half years later the Democratic Party has not lifted a finger to establish free elections in America. Not in a single state have they called for runoffs so Florida could never happen again. They could not make it clearer: The Democratic Party prefers that Republicans win elections, even without majority support, rather than allow free elections where a third party or an independent candidate could attract tens of millions from their base.
Their answer is simple: Ralph Nader must not run, must not be an alternative. Why?
If free elections were held with a runoff system as in most civilized nations; if proportional representation existed whereby if a point of view receives 20% of the vote, its supporters would receive 20% representation — then every vote would count, and the Democratic Party as we know it today would no longer exist.
Tens of millions who never vote would have a reason to vote. New parties would appear and a representative democracy would begin to blossom in America.
Why They Hate Nader
The Democrats are on an all-out effort to attack the Nader/Camejo campaign because if voters begin to vote for what they want the entire electoral system will unravel. If twenty million citizens voted for Nader it would be the beginning of the end of the two-party system.The Democrats would enter into a crisis, the ability of money to control people would begin to crack and the possibility of a democracy where citizens could vote for what they believe would be born.
The Democrats are determined, not to beat Bush but to stop Nader, to protect the two-party pro-corporate rule that America lives under.
This is why the Democrats have organized a nation-wide “hate Nader” campaign. They seek to obfuscate the issues. They seek to prevent the right of citizens to vote for Nader by denying Nader even his right to be on the ballot. State by state thousands of citizens sign petitions to place Nader on the ballot; state by state the Democrats harass, seek technicalities to challenge the signatures, and try to prevent people from having a pro-peace candidate.
The attack on Nader by the San Francisco Chronicle — with a banner front page article claiming Republicans are funding Nader — is just one part of an ongoing campaign. In spite of the relentless attacks against Nader, the polls continue to show ten million people behind Nader/Camejo.
Wealthy Democrats and Republicans cross finance their campaigns. It is standard practice for corporations to donate to both. the Republicans and the Democrats. The very corporations that Democrats supposedly oppose, Enron, Halliburton and Exxon, for example, all give funds to Kerry/ Edwards. Kerry/Edwards have no plans to return a penny of their Republican or corporate backing.
What the Money Buys
These corporate lobbyist funds are not really contributions. They are investments or bribes with an expected return of access and policy, precisely like the Kerry/Edwards call for lower taxes on corporations. This kind of contribution dominates the financing of Bush and Kerry as well as most major party candidates for Congress and Senate.
Corporations once paid 33% of the taxes received by the federal government. Now they pay under eight percent, yet Kerry/ Edwards are promising to lower their taxes further in spite of the half trillion federal deficit per year and the increasingly regressive taxes on working people.
Against this domination of money over people stand Ralph Nader and the Nader/ Camejo campaign. The Nader/Camejo campaign is seeking votes from all citizens, Democrats, Independents, Republicans, Greens and Libertarians. Just as we seek their votes we ask all of them to help fund our campaign that opposes the war in Iraq and the USA Patriot Act, and defends the health and well-being of working people.
We especially ask for donations for the right to be on the ballot and for free elections in the United States, elections that respect the will of the voters, that favor instant run off voting and proportional representation.
Most working people never give funds to any candidate. Those who do occasionally give to a candidate have no anticipation of personal financial gain. It is that kind of donor that represents the overwhelming majority of contributions to Nader/Camejo. The bulk of our contributions are in amounts below $100 per person.
The Nader/Camejo campaign does not accept funds from Exxon, Enron or Halliburton as Kerry/Edwards do. We do not accept funding from corporations!
We ask that Kerry/Edwards stop their hypocritical campaign about the minuscule funding we have received from citizens registered Republican. We ask they stop their campaign against the American voters seeking to deny them a choice at the ballot box by allowing ballot access and an opportunity for voters who support Nader/ Camejo to vote for them.
We, like all other candidates, do not, can not and will not give donors lie detectors to ascertain their objectives in funding our campaign. We have proposed a simple solution to the funding issue. Establish public funding of all campaigns to create fairness and end corruption. Kerry/Edwards and Bush/Cheney oppose public funding.
The choice is clear. Continue a corrupt electoral system that closes choices, forces citizens to vote against their conscience and allows money to control people — or open up the electoral system, defend civil liberties and establish free elections.
ATC 112, September-October 2004