Sunday, June 07, 2009


This article started out as a comment about an article by Michael Collins on OpEdNews predicting the demise of the Republican Party. Since the comment ended up as an analysis of how the ruling class, or the class of those with money, maintain their control of this society, how they have kept the electorate bouncing back and forth between their two parties, the futility of supporting the Democrats as the lesser evil, and how the Green Party caved in to the pressure to support the lesser evil in 2004, I decided it deserves publication as a stand alone post.
Robert Halfhill


What is so discouraging to so many of us is that the majority of the public shows no sign of being able to remember, when the Republicans have been so bad that they have swung in desperation and disgust to the Democrats, how just one or two presidential terms ago, the disappointing performance of the Democrats had caused the majority of them to swing to the Republicans.

Clinton had been so disappointing that many of us finally were willing to consider supporting a third party and vote for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. At one point it looked like Nader would even receive 10% of the vote. The Democrats were able to cut that back to between 4 and 5% percent with their last minute barrage of hysterical predictions that we were going to "throw our vote away" and "elect Bush." After Bush was appointed by the Supreme Court, the Democrats deluged us with hysterical accusations that we "had got Bush elected." Most people seem to have forgotten that Bush had not received the majority of the popular vote and it turned out that he had not even won the majority of the electoral vote when the long predicted media recount of the ballots was released. The media distorted the results of their recount by headlining "Bush wins," but, on closer examination, it turned out that under every scenario in which the ballots have been recounted under uniform standards, Gore had won. How is this as an example of how ruling elites determine how the press distorts the news?

Five Neanderthal buffoons in the robes of Supreme Court Injustices ordering us to stop counting votes and appointing Bush was actually no different than five military generals conducting a coup and appointing Bush.

And since in Florida, the Republicans had outsourced the task of purging the voter rolls of felons to private companies, and the low bidding companies were naturally the ones who cut corners by only compiling lists of those who had been CHARGED with felonies, without checking further to see if they had also been CONVICTED, the Democratic Party apologists cannot even retreat to their backup charge that the Nader voters were only one of the reasons, though not the only reason, for Gore's defeat. Given how the Republicans systematically disenfranchised voters from groups likely to vote Democratic, the Democrats cannot even say Nader voters were a contributing factor to Gore's loss to Bush, since the record makes it clear that if the Republicans had needed more votes to win, they would have simply stolen them.

But since the press had convinced most people that Bush had won, the majority believed the hysterical charge that those of who voted for Nader had elected Bush. Even enough Greens had caved under the pressure by 2004 to cause the Green Party to reject Nader in favor of "safe states" candidate David Cobb. "Safe states" means you only make a serious attempt to campaign in states where the polls predict the Democrats are sure to win, a covert form of lesser evilism since you don't make a serious attempt to campaign in states where there is a danger the Democrats will lose to the Republicans.

But to return to my main theme, those who advocate voting for the Democrats as the lesser evil were able to convince most people that Nader supporters had "elected Bush." The electorate had become even more disgusted with Bush by 2004 and it had first seemed that the Democrats had won by a comfortable margin. But over the post midnight hours of the night, the press reported that the vote had swung back to Bush. It has been extensively documented by Robert Kennedy, Jr. and others how a surplus of voting machines in Ohio had been allocated to Republican leaning, predominantly white, suburban precincts, which left inner city, predominantly Black, Democratic leaning precincts with an acute shortage. The new electronic voting machines left no auditable paper trail of ballots, so no real recount could be conducted. The FREE PRESS later verified that the electronic vote count had been sent through a computer in Tennessee to alter the tally to produce a Republican win. Nevertheless the press managed to convince most people that Bush had won.

The explanation for Obama and the Democrats win in 2008 by contributors to OEN has been that the electorate had swung so markedly to the Democrats in the last month or so of the election that the Republicans did not steal enough votes and that the Democrats would have won by an even greater margin if it had not been for the Republican theft. I am not certain about this explanation since, if you are sending the election tally through a computer in the middle, you can alter the results by whatever amount you need to win in the final hours, or even seconds, before the final tally. A more plausible explanation to me is that whatever interest group that could influence the press to falsely report that Bush has won the majority of the electoral votes in 2000, and to falsely report despite all the evidence to the contrary that Bush had won in 2004, had decided that they simply didn't dare to pull off another election theft in 2008, given the mounting disgust with the Republicans.

And you can clearly find the evidence that there is a class that rules this society if you stop to consider that a candidate cannot even obtain enough media coverage to even let the majority of voters know that he or she even exists unless she or he has hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase media coverage. The only way you can raise that large an amount of money is to go to those that have that large an amount of money. And they are not likely to contribute to candidates who do not support the same policies that they support. They are not just contributing to political candidates as a hobby, In that sense there is a ruling class, although not in the sense of some secret group that meets at Bohemian Grove or Skull and Bones.

The result of all this history is that Obama and the Democrats now have the presidency and the majority of Congress and, afters nearly six months in power, they are disappointing us in all the ways that Michael Collins outlined. But this is not the first time the Democrats have disappointed us, nor is it the first time one of the two major parties have seemed on the verge of extinction. I remember that the Republicans seems headed for extinction after their and Nixon's disgrace in Watergate and the ensuing Democratic sweep of Congress. But after the disappointing performance of Jimmy Carter, it was as if Watergate had been erased from the minds of the majority of the electorate and, a scant six years after Watergate, the voters swung back to Reagan and the Republicans, who gave us the deregulation that contributed to what could still become the Second Great Depression. After another twelve years of Reagan and Bush, Sr., the electorate swung back to the Democrats and Clinton, who "ended welfare as we know it." What a short time ago would have been considered the ultimate reactionary measure by Democrats and liberals and a major step in dismantling the New Deal was given to us by a Democratic president.

And it was the majority of Democrats who voted for the Taft Hartley Act in the years immediately following World War II and, by outlawing secondary boycotts, took away one of labor's major gains from the New Deal. With secondary boycotts, not only could striking employees refuse to provide their labor to the struck enterprise but workers in other unions could refuse to make deliveries to the struck facility. It is primarily Taft Hartley that led to labors decline from representing over a third of the American work force in the later 1940's to its present anemic position of representing only a few percent of American workers. And the majority of Democrats voted for it. So it would still have passed even if all those big bad Republicans had been magically removed from Congress.

And as for Kennedy and Johnson, I still remember a Democratic Party activist in 1968 telling about how he had told a Goldwater supporter -- "You vote for Goldwater and in a few months, we'll be in Vietnam!" A few months later, he ran into the Goldwater supporter again who told him, "You know you were right. I did vote for Goldwater and we are in Vietnam!"

However, despite this long record of evil from the Democrats, it would be a mistake to say that there is NO difference between the Democrats and the Republicans. The ruling class has to keep the lesser evil LESSER in order to bait the trap enough to draw the majority of voters into supporting it. On some individual issues, the Democrats may even turn out to be the GREATER evil. But OVERALL, when all issues are considered, the Democrats have to be slightly the lesser evil for the trap to keep working at all.

But on the other hand, the mistake that advocates of continuing to support the Democrats as the lesser evil make when they hysterically predict how much worse things will be if we "throw away our vote" and let the greater evil Republicans win is that the difference in evil if not great enough to justify all the time, energy and money liberals spend on getting Democrats elected. Surely the disappointing record of the Democrats over the last 65 years since World War II should be enough to convince us that if we waste another six decades on electing Democrats, we will not be significantly further towards achieving a just society at the end of those decades. If we ever want to achieve anything significant, our only recourse is to ignore the slight improvements blandished by the lesser evils and the hysterical, overwrought predictions of how much worse things will be if we "throw away our vote" and elect the greater evil, bite the bullet, and devote the energy we have been wasting on getting Democrats elected to building a third party. Think of what could be achieved if we devoted all the time, energy, and money liberals have expended on electing Democrats to building a genuine, progressive alternative. It is hard to see how we could do worse than what has been gained from the Democrats.

What the examples of the Federalists and Whigs do prove however is that one of the major parties can go extinct and be replaced by another. However the examples of the Federalists and Whigs have been cases one of the ruling class greater evil parties becoming extinct and being replaced by another. Whether the Republicans are due to become extinct yet is difficult to say since they seemed just as close to extinction after Watergate but yet survived,

Another discouraging fact is the non reaction of the American people after the Supreme Court coup and installation of an illegal government for the first time in our history in 2001. By contrast, the Serbian people took to the streets en masse after Milosevic tried to steal the election. But unlike the Serbians, Americans have never lived under an open military dictatorship whereas the Serbians have lived under both Nazism during World War II and over forty years of Stalinism after the second World War. They thus knew what unpleasantness could result from letting a government get out from under Democratic control. I hope the majority of Americans can wake up without having to endure a Nazi or Stalinist -- or a Christian Taliban -- dictatorship. And similarly, one reason there has not been a revolution in this country since the one against the British is that, no matter how impoverished and unpleasant living conditions have been for many people in this country, they have never up to now become as bad as in other countries. I hope the majority of the American people can wake up before they have to endure mass starvation and penury.

I referred earlier to the fact that a candidate could not even inform people that he or even existed without hundreds of millions of dollars to purchase media coverage. The development of the Internet provides the potential that small parties and ordinary people can get enough media exposure to have a chance to be heard amidst the media colossi. The Internet leads to another problem however since it opens up space for hundreds of millions and eventually billions of people to be heard. Since no one can attend to more than a few of these many posts, the potential still remains for the result to be a few privileged sources on which most people depend for their information. However, the Internet does open up the possibility that an ordinary poster can seamlessly make the progression from a few to many people who attend to him or her without having to get over the discontinuity of having to purchase a major newspaper or television station in order to jump from having a small scale to a mass audience. The Internet thus has the potential of leading to the same mass democratization that the introduction of the printing press led to. This gives some reason to hope that we can one day attain a society without a ruling class in which all people can live comfortably.

Robert Halfhill (SITE NOW BANNED ON AOL)
*Write AOL to complain, here:, or call 1-888-212-5537.


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