Magazine article Canadian Dimension

U.S. Elections: Their Future and Ours

Magazine article Canadian Dimension

U.S. Elections: Their Future and Ours

Article excerpt

Aristotle defined an oligarchy as a polity in which the few elect the rulers to govern over the many. That formula fits exactly the description of U.S. primaries and general elections. In New York state, where only 15 per cent of the party members voted in the recent Democratic primaries, Kerry won with eight per cent of registered Democrats. In the general elections in November, 25 million voters (out of 50 million) can decide who will rule over 280 million citizens. The great majority of blacks, Hispanics and poor workers will not vote, because they perceive that neither the Republican Bush nor the Democrat Kerry speak to the problems that most affect their lives.

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Those who prefer Kerry do so because he is perceived to be capable of beating Bush, the incumbent reactionary. But the rational hatred of Bush has another side to it--an irrational embrace of a reactionary Democrat.

Senator John Kerry, the wealthiest man in the U.S. Senate, enjoys ties to Big Banking and has a voting record that is the envy of any conservative. In foreign policy, Kerry criticizes Bush and Rumsfeld for not sending enough troops to Iraq. He unconditionally supports Israel's war against the Palestinians, Sharon's apartheid wall and the continuance of the annual $3 billion in military aid to that country. Kerry has declared his support for the Miami mafia's economic and travel blockade of Cuba despite major agricutural and tourism business interests' opposition to U.S. travel and trade restrictions. Kerry has been a vehement supporter of free trade, the WTO and ALCA, throughout his years in the Senate. Kerry has never questioned Bush's attempt to overthrow President Chavez of Venezuela, nor has he challenged the three-year Bush/Noriega/Reich blockade of Haiti (only after Aristide's ouster and during the current election campaign has he called for an "investigation"). Kerry has not called for any cuts in the bloated military budget, nor has he differed either with Bush's bellicose posturing toward North Korea or his provocative policies toward Russia (organizing military bases in the Balkans, the Caucuses and, now, in the Baltic countries). It is probable that a new Cold War will emerge--whoever wins the presidential elections.

On domestic policy, Kerry voted for Bush's repressive Patriot Act, for tax cuts for the rich and for deregulation of the financial sector. Kerry has refused to support any progressive national health plan, the legalization of Mexican residents, controls on speculative capital, substantive economic programs for blacks, publicly funded job programs, progressive labour legislation, or any job protection. Kerry's only proposal for "labour reform" is to obligate employers to give workers three months' notice before they are fired. Kerry's proposed remedy for the loss of three million jobs under Bush is to give greater tax incentives to big business to employ U.S. workers.

John Kerry's past voting record and current electoral program strongly suggest that he too will be a "war president," perhaps with less abrasive diplomats and with more formal consultation with European regimes. He will continue the free-market, trickle-down economic policies promoted by Clinton, and radicalized by Bush.

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