Here is a collection of various posts questioning our “free” elections and the choice of not voting in the presidential election. I would still encourage you to support local candidates and put your energy and funds towards electing them.
It’s sad to come to this conclusion, it really is. I’ve known about it for a long time yet somehow my desire for it to be like I wanted it to be kept me from seeing the truth. Our elections are a farce. The illusion of democracy can be very powerful.
A challenge to the status quo?
February 1, 2008
ELECTION 2008 is headed toward D-Day–the Super Tuesday primaries in roughly half the country on February 5–and for both Democrats and Republicans, the race to become the presidential nominee is up for grabs.
On the Democratic side, Barack Obama is coming off a huge victory in South Carolina, on the strength of another record-smashing turnout of voters, especially African Americans. But Hillary Clinton has the advantage of a more experienced campaign machine and the support of most party leaders in the big states that vote February 5.
The Republican race is somewhat less in disarray than before–it looks to have become a two-way contest between John McCain, who nearly ended his campaign months before the primaries began because he ran out of money, and Mitt Romney, whose personal fortune is so vast that he’ll never run out of campaign cash, to see who will be the last (white) man left standing.
The media will be filled to the brim with guesswork about what will happen on Super Tuesday. Lost in that speculation will be the bigger picture–what the outlines of Election 2008 so far say about U.S. politics.
As the historian Howard Zinn put it, “There’s hardly anything more important that people can learn than the fact that the really critical thing isn’t who is sitting in the White House, but who is sitting in–in the streets, in the cafeterias, in the halls of government, in the factories.”
This is why, for socialists, elections are only a small part of what we look to as “politics”–and that would be true even if we had a system where there was a genuine alternative at election time representing the interests of workers.
That’s not to say that elections are a distraction, to be ignored by anyone who really cares about changing society. As Frederick Engels pointed out a century ago, “the most edifying squabbles” break out within the confines of mainstream politics, casting light on the real interests of the rulers and the ruled in society.
Election 2008 is showing the thirst for real change. Achieving that change, though, depends on the struggle from below.
The Grand Delusion
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
With an endless, futile and costly Iraq war, a stinking economy and most Americans seeing the country on the wrong track, the greatest national group delusion is that electing Democrats in 2008 is what the country needs.
Keith Olbermann was praised when he called the Bush presidency a criminal conspiracy. That missed the larger truth. The whole two-party political system is a criminal conspiracy hiding behind illusion induced delusion.
Virtually everything that Bush correctly gets condemnation for could have been prevented or negated by Democrats, if they had had courage, conviction and commitment to maintaining the rule of law and obedience to the Constitution. Bush grabbed power from the feeble and corrupt hands of Democrats. Democrats have failed the vast majority of Americans. So why would sensible people think that giving Democrats more power is a good idea? They certainly have done little to merit respect for their recent congressional actions, or inaction when it comes to impeachment of Bush and Cheney.
One of the core reasons the two-party stranglehold on our political system persists is that whenever one party uses its power to an extreme degree it sets the conditions for the other party – its partner in the conspiracy – to take over. Then the other takes its turn in wielding excessive power. Most Americans – at least those that vote – seem incapable of understanding that the Democrats and Republicans are two teams in the same league, serving the same cabal running the corporatist plutocracy. By keeping people focused on rooting for one team or the other, the behind-the-scenes rulers ensure their invisibility and power.
Time to Boycott Voting
By Joel S. Hirschhorn
After many years of political disappointment, more progressives, liberals and conservatives – and certainly moderates and independents – know in their hearts that voting for Democrats or Republicans is a waste. Just imagine if voter turnout was cut to 25 percent or less! Let the whole world see Americans boycotting a broken and corrupt political system and rejecting what has become a delusional democracy. To keep voting in an unjust political system makes us willing political slaves that the rich and powerful elites exploit.
Just leaving the major parties is not good enough and, besides, most Americans are not party members. We need a bolder strategy. We must humiliate the political elites in both major parties and the corporate interests that support both of them. We can send a shock wave throughout the political establishment by not voting in the 2008 presidential election.
Stop playing THEIR game. Take back control. Take back YOUR nation. Time to boycott voting. This strategy is consistent with the thinking of Gandhi and King: peaceful resistance to political tyranny that can bring the corrupt system to its knees. Ultimately, the most effective protest is through civil disobedience – to visibly and stubbornly refuse to respect what has become a corrupt, untrustworthy system. Before it can be fixed it must be deconstructed and then rebuilt. Taxation with MISrepresentation means we need a Second American Revolution; it must begin – not with violent action – but with massive withdrawal by citizens that have seen the light. We have a good head start with about half of eligible voters already so turned off that they don’t vote. Obviously that has not been sufficient to change the system.
There will be negative, defensive knee-jerk reactions to this audacious strategy. Let’s examine them:
Many will think that taking such action violates our responsibility as citizens. But taking that responsibility seriously as engaged citizens in the Jeffersonian sense must reflect that there is still a valid contract between citizens and their government. When we vote we have the right to a political system that respects we the people and gives us an authentic representative democracy. We have a right to a constitutional republic operating under the rule of law. But we have elected representatives that no longer have the public interest as their primary commitment, nor truly honor and respect our Constitution.
They have been corrupted by corporate and other special interests that fund their campaigns to get the laws, loopholes and largesse they want. They have been corrupted by power and the perks of office. They are political cowards and mostly intellectual midgets. The two major parties have a stranglehold on our political system that no longer merits our participation in their crooked game. Political parties are not part of our Constitution and the two-party duopoly has demonstrated that both Democrats and Republicans put their own interests above those of we the people, our nation and our democracy. We cannot vote our way out of our current, dreadful political system.
Why I Will Not Vote In 2004
By Carolyn Baker
The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful and virtuous. — Frederick Douglass
On May 3, 2004, the California Secretary of State nixed all electronic, touch-screen voting in the state and called for the criminal prosecution of the Diebold Company. For those who have been researching the questionable practices of Diebold and the potential manipulation of electronic voting, (www.blackboxvoting.com and www.wired.com/news/evote/0,2645,63191,00.html), California’s decision appears to be a victory for American democracy but does not necessarily herald hope for clean elections in November since overwhelming evidence suggests that conflicts of interest permeate the relationship between electronic voting machine companies throughout the nation and Republican politicians. For example:
• In 2000, 5 of the 12 directors of Diebold, a leading voting machine manufacturer, made donations totaling $94,750 to predominately Republican politicians;
• Former Florida Secretary of State Sandra Mortham (R) and Former State Election Supervisor of California Lou Dedier (R) both have ties to Election Systems and Software (ES&S), one of our nation’s leading voting machine manufacturers and tabulators. Sandra Mortham was a lobbyist for ES&S and the Florida Association of Counties during the same time period. The Florida Association of Counties made $300,000 in commissions from the sale of ES&S’s voting machines. (www.gregpalast.com) Still worse, it appears that another episode of name purges is imminent for Florida voters for the November elections, a re-run of 2000. (http://www.gregpalast.com/detail.cfm?artid=327&row=0) Other states may follow California’s lead—or not.
If there is an election in November, 2004, and it is not absolutely certain there will be, as I will be discussing later in this article, I am not willing to vote unless I can have a paper receipt verifying my vote. This is not possible in the state where I reside.
“But why don’t you vote absentee?” the reader may ask. Because in a similar manner, absentee ballots can be tampered with as they were in Florida in 2000:
The data shows that out of over 21,500 absentee ballots cast in Escambia County, not one voter overvoted their ballot by placing marks next to the names of only two presidential candidates. However, 296 absentee voters placed three or more marks on their presidential ballot.
The odds against this occurring naturally are vanishingly small. And when one considers that the Escambia County Canvassing Board manually duplicated over 2,400 absentee ballots that were originally read by machine as overvotes and undervotes, the only conclusion is that the duplicate ballots created in Escambia County did not reflect what was on the original absentee ballots themselves. (www.democrats.com)