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Elections Should Belong To The People
For most of the Twentieth Century (and now into the Twenty First Century), the American citizenry has had precious little say about who represents them in Washington, D.C., as well as in many, if not most, State posts. Oh, I realize that every two years the American people (well, about half of those who are eligible) go through the motions of voting. (They did that in Venezuela, too, didn’t they?) But the truth of the matter is elections have become almost exclusively the domain of the well-financed special interest groups that control the two major parties. The individual citizen has almost no voice–especially in national elections.
Without trying to beat a dead horse, I want to mention again what the national Republican Party machine (along with the national news media) did to Ron Paul and his supporters in this year’s primary elections proves beyond any shadow of a doubt the deceit, duplicity, and dishonesty that defines major party politics. Anyone who believes that Mitt Romney won his party’s nomination freely and fairly is either totally ignorant of what really happened or is thoroughly deluded. And unless people in Venezuela were killed or imprisoned, Ron Paul’s supporters were no less mistreated than were Hugo Chaves’ opponents.
When I was nominated by the Constitution Party in 2008, I became one of only six Presidential candidates who were on enough State ballots that year to theoretically have the potential to obtain enough electoral votes to win the Presidency. The others were Bob Barr (Libertarian), Ralph Nader (Independent), Cynthia McKinney (Green), Barack Obama (Democrat), and John McCain (Republican). But of course, the only candidates that were allowed to participate in the national debates were Obama and McCain. Why? The two major parties control the Presidential Debate Commission.
Do readers not find it more than interesting that when the US government took control of Iraq, they demanded that Iraqi elections reflect and represent the entire country and insisted that Iraqi elections be open to “all.” That’s why you saw over twenty, or maybe even thirty, different political parties participate in Iraq’s elections. This was done with the approbation and, in fact, insistence of the US government. Yet, in here in America, only two parties are allowed to fully participate in the election process: the Democrat and Republican parties.
In any given Presidential election only about half of qualified voters in this country (more or less) bother to go to the polls and vote. That means our President is elected with a little over one quarter of the voters’ support. That’s hardly a majority! And the reason that most of those people who don’t vote stay home is because they are totally frustrated with the American political system. They have zero confidence in either major political party or the puppet Presidential candidates that they put before the American people. Who can blame them?
Since the two major parties control the election process, they have made it almost impossible for third parties, or even non-establishment party candidates within the two major parties, to succeed. Election laws at the federal and State levels are so egregiously discriminating that anyone who is deemed an “outsider” (meaning, non-establishment) rarely prevails.
Here in Montana, a Constitution Party candidate, Rick Jore, was elected to the Montana House of Representatives a few years ago. And I’m sure that one could locate a smidgen of local or State races that were won by Libertarian Party candidates. Of course, the biggest prize won by a third party candidate in recent memory was the election of Jesse Ventura (Libertarian Party) as Minnesota’s governor back in 1998. But that’s it.
Of course, back when America was a lot freer, having multiple parties represented in a national election was much more common. For example, Abraham Lincoln was one of six major party candidates, and he won with only 39% of the vote. And by today’s definition, Lincoln’s Republican Party would have been considered a “third” party by the political establishment. Yet, the political process freely accommodated no less than six parties in the election of 1860. Is it a coincidence that in 2008 six Presidential candidates met the threshold of being on enough State ballots to theoretically win the election? If the same rules governing national elections that apply today had applied in 1860, Lincoln would have never gone to the White House.
And there is no more egregious example of the way election rules violate a free and fair election process than the manner in which individuals are prohibited from contributing to a candidate’s campaign. Both federal and most State election laws set limits (meager at that) on how much money an individual may give to their preferred candidate. Yet, there is absolutely no limit to what the candidate himself or herself might donate to his or her own campaign. And there is almost no limit to what special interest PACs are able to give. You call this free? You call this fair?
For example, when I ran in 2008, a man wanted to donate $2 million to my campaign (a paltry sum compared to what the two major party candidates receive), but was not allowed to do so, because of federal elections laws–which were put in place by the two major parties, of course. And many others wanted to give generous amounts as well but were likewise prohibited from doing so.
So, the net result is only the rich and powerfully connected good-old-boys are able to prevail in most elections. If one is not extremely wealthy or extremely articulate and charismatic or extremely lucky, the only people who have a chance at winning even local races are elitist establishment types. Thankfully, in spite of the deck being stacked against “real” people, some manage to prevail–mostly at the State and local levels, of course. But almost always after arriving at their State capitol or county seat, they find themselves vastly outnumbered. And, as Sonny and Cher sang, “The Beat Goes On.”
And this column isn’t even dealing with the subject of vote fraud, which is a real issue that hardly anyone wants to talk about. And, yes, there is enough evidence to dogmatically say that vote fraud was employed in the primaries against Ron Paul in more than one State.
Here in the State of Montana, included on every ballot is a line underneath each race that voters can write “No,” or “None of the above.” Should “No” receive more votes than the candidates listed, a special election would have to be called with new candidates. I don’t mind telling you that I will be voting “No” on several races this year. I wonder what would happen if just one time–one time!–voters rejected both candidates for a given race. Wouldn’t you love to see that happen just once? Wow! I sure would. I am sick to my stomach of having to choose between CFR candidate A and CFR candidate B, between elitist establishment candidate A and elitist establishment candidate B. Aren’t you?
At some point, the American people have got to take back their elections, because right now they don’t belong to the people; they belong to the elitist establishment. And that’s why it normally doesn’t matter to a tinker’s dam who gets elected. And that’s why nothing changes. And that’s also why about half of the American people don’t even bother to vote. But instead of not voting, I wish they would all show up on November 6 and vote “None of the above” and send these elitist creeps back where they came from.