[Marxism] Nader on Delaware ballot (3 potential votes) and the SWP on Gore's loss in Florida

Steve Gabosch bebop101 at comcast.net
Thu Aug 19 04:43:34 MDT 2004

Responding to Brian's comments on the Militant's position that Gore tried 
to steal the 2000 election in Florida, I don't think the essential issue 
hinges around the undemocratic nature of the electoral college system, or 
other undemocratic features of how the US elects presidents (such as the 
two-party system).  In general, as I believe many would agree, the rulers 
appropriate the executive and legislative branches of the government in 
every November election, falsely calling it a democratic process.  In that 
sense, it was going to be either Bush or Gore that would "steal" the 
election - they were, as usual, stealing it for the rulers together, just 
as Democrats and Republicans have been doing for a long time.  Certainly, 
the 2000 Florida election fiasco is an opportunity to point this out.  In 
my view, the most important of the many undemocratic methods used in 
Florida 2000 was the way African American and immigrant votes were not 
counted, an outrage that the NAACP organized against, many protested 
against, the Militant and others editorialized against - but the Democrats 
and Republicans did little or nothing about.

The essential issue that I think drives the Militant's compelling argument 
that Gore indeed tried to steal that election is the fact that Gore made no 
attempt to make every vote count in Florida.  His suit with the Supreme 
Court, according to the January 8, 2001 Militant (see the article "Bush 
will continue bipartisan antilabor course") only asked for a recount in 
three or four Florida counties (out of a total of 67) where Gore had 
already won.  This was a blatant attempt - not to further democracy - but 
to manipulate the vote count in Gore's favor.

The general content of the claim that Bush "stole" the 2000 election, from 
what I have seen, is not a renewed critique of the undemocratic nature of 
the electoral college or any of the other undemocratic aspects of 
presidential elections in the US, although of course these issues have 
gotten some heightened discussion, with Gore having won the popular 
vote.  The general content of this claim about Bush's supposed heist is 
that Bush is some kind of anomaly in bourgeois politics, representing some 
sort of an ultra-conservative conspiracy that is taking over the US 
government.  The Militant, as I understand it, rejects this outlook, and 
argues that what is really happening is that both liberals and 
conservatives - representing the rulers in general - are moving toward more 
intensive and aggressive pro-imperialist positions and adventures, and that 
the Bush administration, far from being an anomaly, is representative of 
this trend and the interests of the rulers.  In critiquing Bush, many 
liberals are openly arguing that they can do a better job of leading this 
sharpening of imperialism, by doing things such as consolidating more 
pro-imperialist allies abroad (through better diplomacy) and by more 
competently "protecting" US citizens from "terrorists" at home (with more 
police security).  The Militant argues that what the "coarsening" debate 
over Bush's competency is really all about is a sharpening of differences 
among the rulers over how to conduct the upcoming class battles against 
working people.  There are certainly some differences over where and when 
and in what order attacks should be made - differences that can be found 
between various bourgeois candidates, including Bush and Kerry - but there 
is general agreement about the overall direction and trend of this assault 
in a period where world capitalism finds itself increasingly in crisis.  In 
general, as many Marxmailers have pointed out, Bush and Kerry are on the 
same page, especially on issues of imperialism and democratic rights.

Unfortunately, some leftist currents have illusions that electing Democrats 
to and Republicans out of office will improve the general situation for the 
working class and the oppressed, and these currents have been expressing 
these illusions in phrases such as "Anybody But Bush" and "Bush stole the 
2000 elections."  The Militant seeks to counter these illusions, arguing 
that voting for and supporting either bourgeois party is not in the 
interests of workers.  In pointing out that within hours of the original 
vote count, "the Gore camp began looking for a way to steal the election 
from Bush," the Militant exposed an important aspect of the crooked, 
anti-working class Gore campaign.  The Militant's point was that Gore's 
lawsuit for a recount of the vote was just an underhanded attempt to get 
placed in office by forcing a limited recount- and that Gore's recount 
lawsuit actually had nothing to do with democracy or improving the election 
process.  As portrayed in 'Fahrenheit 9/11', that Gore and every Democrat 
in the Senate did nothing about the outrageous undercounting of African 
American and immigrant votes in Florida - even with petitions for a recount 
from one Representative after another being vigorously presented to the 
full Senate - exposes Gore just that much more.

- Steve Gabosch

Here is the January 8, 2001 Militant article mentioned above:


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