Greens, Democrats, and Multiparty Democracy in a Winner Take All system

By: Thomas Leavitt

First of all, a bit of political trivia: both Canada and the United Kingdom have an electoral system that is more or less similar to ours – candidates for national, regional and local office (with some newly created exceptions in Britain) run for office under a winner take all system.

What’s the trivia here? Citizens of the United States may be surprised to learn (given the alleged anti-third party bias of a system like ours) that both Canada and Britain, for many many years, have sustained significant third parties (i.e. ones that regularly win seats in Parliament, and that have controlled legislative bodies and governed at the regional level).
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Ralph Nader Appeals for End to unDemocratic Dirty Tricks

[Ballot access is an important issue to Greens. Greens in my area have faced attemps by the Democartic Party to keep us off the ballot, and we know what happens on a national level. The attemps to limit democracy should be condemed by everyone interested in a fair and well function political system. -Roger]

Today, Ralph Nader sent a letter to John Kerry concerning Democratic efforts to block ballot access of the Nader-Camejo Campaign. The letter outlines an unprecedented and undemocratic campaign to keep an independent candidate off the ballot.
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Bush Stumps for 3rd Party Candidates

“I know plenty of politicians assume they have your
vote,” he said. “But did they earn it, and do they
deserve it?”

Bush drew applause each time he ticked off one of his
questions to the group: “Is it a good thing for the
African-American community to be represented mainly by
one political party?”

“Have the traditional solutions of the Democrat Party
truly served the African-American people?”

“There is an alternative this year,” Bush said.

(Thanks to Ian Wilder for this.)

Poll: On troops issue, many don’t know their candidate

Star Tribune
Eric Black, Star Tribune

A large portion of Upper Midwestern voters have a wrong impression of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry’s position on U.S. troop levels in Iraq, according to a University of Minnesota poll in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.

Most registered voters in the three battleground states want to decrease the number of U.S. troops in Iraq, and most of them believe that Kerry shares that position.

In fact, Kerry and President Bush both say that the United States must maintain the troops necessary to complete the U.S. mission of stabilizing Iraq, and both favor sending more troops if U.S. commanders request them. When the 2004 Election Project of the university’s Humphrey Institute polled voters in the three states about what they prefer to see happen with troop levels in Iraq, 28 percent said they favor increased troop levels, 12 percent said they favor maintaining current levels, and 58 percent said they want to decrease the number of U.S. troops.
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Banking on Your Desperation : The Bush / Kerry War Ticket

By Stan Cox, in Counterpunch

Like tens of millions of American voters, I am desperate to see President Bush out of the White House. But I’m not voting for John Kerry. I’m not that desperate.

When it comes to the centerpiece of the Bush presidency — the invasion and occupation of Iraq — Kerry is taking a more belligerent line than even Bush himself. On July 16, he told the Wall Street Journal that he would be less likely than Bush to pull U.S. troops out of Iraq anytime soon, and that, if he were elected, the occupation would continue at least through his first term in office.

When asked how many additional troops should be deployed Iraq, Kerry said that once in office, he would "sit with the generals" and discuss the size of the increase. Earlier, he had told Defense News that he would add two divisions to the current 10-division army — an increase of 40,000 troops — while continuing reseach and development of the Star Wars missile defense/corporate welfare system and, not surprisingly, raising the overall military budget.
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Democratic Party Outsources Anti-Nader Efforts To India

GOP Says Dem. Contractor Outsourcing Work
The State.com
KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press

LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan Republican Party alleged Tuesday that a contractor for the state Democratic Party is outsourcing work to India as he checks the validity of petition signatures for presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

Republicans said Mark Grebner, of Practical Political Consulting in East Lansing, has sent digital copies of Nader’s petitions to a data entry firm in India. Grebner declined to comment on the allegation.

But Greg McNeilly, executive director of the state GOP, called the move hypocritical.

“Michigan Democrats are so intolerant of minority perspectives at the ballot box that they’ll outsource Michigan jobs in order to protect a two-party duopoly,” he said in a statement. “They are paying a firm in India for work that could be done by Michiganders.”

The state Democratic Party did not respond to a request for comment on the accusation, but says state Republicans deserve criticism for collecting 43,000 of the 50,000 signatures that may help Nader get on the state ballot. They say the GOP is helping Nader because it thinks he can take votes away from Democrat John Kerry.

At least 30,000 of the signatures must be valid to get Nader on the ballot. Challenges are due by Thursday afternoon.

State Democratic Executive Chairman Mark Brewer has said the party is checking every signature, and it turned to Grebner to help meet Thursday’s deadline.

Grebner said he has used foreign workers in the past in countries such as Bangladesh for work that can’t be done by his U.S. staff of about 15 full-time workers. That includes work for Republicans as well as for Democrats, he added.

“This really is work that you can’t do in the (United States) because it just doesn’t make economic sense,” Grebner said of the work he sends overseas. “I can’t hire people to do some things here.”

The Election is Over – We Lost

Now on to November 3rd
by Sam Smith – Progressive Review, May 2004

The winner is a supporter of three of the worst government decisions of our time: the war in Iraq, the Patriot Act, and the Bush education law.

He is a Yale graduate and a member of a secret society of dubious values and influence. He is arrogant with the sense of self-entitlement of the fully privileged yet has done little in life to justify this self esteem. And he is a tenured and servile member of an establishment that has trashed the Constitution, badly weakened the economy, made us hated around the world, and effectively brought to the end of the First American Republic.

To be sure there will be a consolation runoff in which we get to decide who we would rather do battle against for the next four years. This choice of battleground is not an insignificant matter but neither is it what a democratic election is supposed to be about. It is more like a cancer patient choosing between surgery and chemotherapy. We don’t have to wait for Katherine Harris; this election has already been fixed.
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