The vast majority of Americans regardless of background or ethnicity agree that this electoral campaign gives us no choice but to vote for someone we don’t like or want to govern us. The perennial “lesser evil” has become more malevolent, even ridiculous in the current presidential election.
Some folks want to “hold their noses” and vote for the “lesser” evil on the belief that one will be worse than the other. However, we’ve been doing just that for at least 50 years; that’s why we’ve come to this level of corrupt silliness with candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump dodging the issues and reducing the process to trivialities, backbiting, and nonsense.
The reality is that these races have become selections not elections. No one who is not obscenely rich or has the backing of such can run for president, let alone win office.
A Big Money Game
The New York Times reported, “The political network overseen by the conservative billionaires Charles G. and David H. Koch plans to spend close to $900 million on the 2016 campaign, an unparalleled effort by coordinated outside groups to shape a presidential election that is already on track to be the most expensive in history.”
Bloomberg View reports, “Undisclosed "dark money" is generally funneled by big donors to politically active nonprofits that claim they operate for social welfare. Many such groups sprang up after a series of court rulings essentially blessed unlimited spending by corporations, unions and individuals. Spending on Senate races by groups that don't disclose donors doubled between 2010 and 2014, from $105 million to $226 million. In the 10 most competitive Senate races last year, almost 60 percent of independent expenditures were made by non-disclosing groups, according to the Brennan Center.”
Others say they’ll vote for third party candidates. But the only third party to get on the ballot in all 50 states is the Libertarian Party with the backing of 10 percent of registered voters, according to the Pew poll. But their candidate, Gary Johnson, still can’t get on the stage.
The Green candidates, Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka, have polled at about 3%. Not only can they not get in the debates or garner mass media attention, their party must work within the confines of a corrupt electoral process that forces them to engage in nonstop fundraising albeit not from the corporate oligarchy.
It’s been repeatedly proven that a third party cannot win within this system. That’s been the case for a myriad of elections, and contradicts the revolutionary principle of fighting battles you can win. It demoralizes people to always lose.
“All political parties, as things stand, will support the power complex…. The fascists already have power. The point is that some way must be found to expose them and combat them...This is a huge nation dominated by the most reactionary and violent ruling class in the history of the world, where the majority of the people just simply cannot understand that they are existing on the misery and discomfort of the world." (George Jackson, Blood In My Eye)
In fact, we Americans are hated more and more as President Barack Obama targets innocent civilians with drones, composes kill lists for massacres and assassinations, supports fascist dictatorships like Saudi Arabia, military occupations (such as the Zionist occupation of Palestine and MINUSTAH occupation of Haiti), escalating militarism across the globe, including Africom, in his aggressive pillaging of global resources, and dangerous confrontations with Russia.
We are hated because we claim to democratically elect these imperialist warmongers; and thereby bear full responsibility for our ongoing atrocities against other peoples in sovereign nations.
“When any election is held it will fortify rather than destroy the credibility of the power brokers. When we participate in this election to win, instead of disrupt, we’re lending to its credibility and destroying our own. With all the factors of control over the electoral process in the hands of the minority ruling class, the people’s party can always be made to seem isolated, unimportant, even extraneous.”
The peoples’ parties, the Green Party, Peace & Freedom Party, the Revolutionary Communist Party, the Freedom Socialist Party, are all rendered extraneous and unimportant. Yet they are the parties that have platforms to address the enormous problems of climate change, gross inequality and income disparities, homelessness, health care, mass incarceration, racism, sexism and homophobia.
We abolished chattel slavery but the 13th Amendment and our own lack of unified resistance permits neo-slavery or wage-slavery behind or outside of prison walls. Under chattel slavery when we were the property of the obscenely rich, it was in their interest to take care of us. Now we’ve become throwaways – paid unlivable salaries under awful conditions and laid off with no compensation or safety net. Subjected to premature death.
We don’t have a one-person-one-vote electoral process.
The Framers opted for a complex system of delegates called the Electoral College to ensure the outcome of elections would favor the owner elites. Each state would have a number of electors equal to the number of Representatives in the House plus their two Senators.
Whoever wins the most votes in a given state gets all the electoral votes, a winner-take-all ballot in which voters cast their ballots for the candidate of their choice indirectly. In practice, they’re really signaling their vote to a slew of unknown delegates who in turn are supposed to honor the vote a month later at the Electoral College. This process literally discards all the "losing" votes in each and every state, giving more power to the small (largely white) states and putting a check on the power of the majority (people of color).
For example, in Wyoming, it takes 167,000 votes to gain a single electoral vote; in California, it takes at least 645,000 to get one electoral vote, giving the Wyoming voter four times the voting power of Californians. Then, let’s say one million voters in California split their votes between the two candidates at 49% to 51%. The 49%, or close to a half million votes would be discounted. Repeat this process in 50 states and the number of votes discarded is mindboggling. Yet we continually hear the propaganda that “Every vote counts!” Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, four presidents were elected after losing the popular vote.
A number of polls found at least 70% of the American population favors abolishing the Electoral College. I think that percentage would be 99% if all eligible voters clearly understood it.
Black folks often say, “We fought and died for the right to vote.” Yes, we have. We've always been on the front lines of struggle in this country. From Sojourner Truth to SNCC, Fannie Lou Hamer, and all the valiant freedom fighters of the civil rights movement, we honor and revere their uncompromising fight for our right to vote.
However, while we got a Voting Rights Act passed in1965, the reactionaries in power initiated new ways to suppress and vacate our vote -- new rules and laws of redistricting, registration procedures, vote tampering, rigged voting machines, denying prisoners and felons the vote, and ID policies to disenfranchise voters, especially those of color.
Eric Nielson writes that since 2010, 11 states have passed laws that make it more difficult to vote. The Sentencing Project reports that 6.1 million people are now barred from voting because of a felony conviction, about 3.9 percent of the total population compared with 13 percent of adult black men. I wonder what the tally would be if Black women were included.
“Here we are, 50 years after the beginning of the civil rights movement, and we actually have an increasing number of African-Americans who are disenfranchised each year,” said Marc Mauer of The Sentencing Project.
In 17 states the estimated percentage of disenfranchised black men is even higher. The figure is 31 percent in Florida and Alabama; in Mississippi it’s 29 percent, and 25 percent in Virginia.
Those four states impose a lifetime ban on voting by felons. The other five states with lifetime bans are Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming.
Such a racist/classist phenomenon in the voting system practically screams for our resistance in the slogan all of us or none.
In a Truthout article (May 2015), Electoral Boycott as a Revolutionary Tactic, by Brian D. Williams wrote:
“Voting reinforces the legitimacy of current system, propping up the status quo and its extensive list of policy problems. Even a vote for a minor party candidate -- while expressing a preference for radical policy reform -- is effectively a vote of approval for the current electoral system and structure of government. A campaign for electoral boycott avoids this pitfall….[I]t would probably do more to build revolutionary momentum than pursuing change via the ballot box.
“Widespread support for the Sanders and Trump campaigns -- whose effect (if not intent) has been to preclude revolution by weaving disaffected voters back into the two-party system -- are among several signs of this. However, simply staying away from the polling stations isn't enough. To gain the most momentum from the current moment, the boycott should be advanced as part of a longer-term movement for systemic revolutionary change.”
I think it’s high time for us to form a united front against fascism or on a more positive tip, a united front for social revolution.
If the small parties can come together and fight the reactionary duopoly, we could effectively begin the task of organizing the 99% to save the planet and our grandchildren.
"A social revolution after the fact of the modern corporate capitalist state can only mean the breakup of that state and a completely new form of economics and culture."
"Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution." (George L. Jackson)