“And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint;
And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright.
And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profits shall this birthright do me?
And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob.”
Genesis 25: 30-33
Despite the bizarre fantasy by Trump supporters that the 2020 presidential election was stolen, there was, in fact, genuine electoral fraud in the US. This fraud was more intense and blatant than any unproven claims of election meddling by Russians, Chinese, Syrians or Iranians. It was an all-out attack on political rights not seen since Joseph McCarthy era. Yet, this time, it was inspired not by Republicans but by Democrats and their liberal allies.
If manipulation of information from Russia via social networking is “vote tampering”, then how much more vote tampering is elimination of an entire party from news stories and even from the ballot so that many voters are not aware of its existence? In all likelihood, efforts by the Democratic Party (DP) affected the mind-set of more voters than all the right-wing howls put together.
Ballot Manipulation: Imagined and Real
Attempts by the DP to destroy the Green Party (GP) date back to at least 2000 when it screamed that Ralph Nader cost Al Gore the election. There are too many reasons that this was false to list, but clearly the DP created its own demise by losing massive numbers of black voters via the Clinton-Gore-Biden scheme of “mass incarceration.” Rather telling is the fact that then vice-president Gore gaveled down House of Representative Democrats who raised objections to the supposed win of George W. Bush.
The DP is infamous for the way it has openly collaborated with the Republican Party (RP) to eliminate small parties from nationally publicized debates. Along with reports in the corporate press which only covers parties made “viable” by big money, the debates unambiguously manipulate elections by shielding voters from hearing candidates who often reflect their views more closely.
Presidential debates demonstrate one of the many ways big money controls US elections. Critical for putting John Kennedy in the White House, the first televised debate in 1960 was followed by refusals of Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon to participate in debates. Debates did not reappear until 1976 when the League of Women Voters (LWV) sponsored debates which Jimmy Carter used to oust president Gerald Ford.
In 1980, the LWV announced that the debates would include independent candidate John Anderson along with Carter and Ronald Reagan. Carter demanded LWV eliminate Anderson. But the League held firm; the debates were between Reagan and Anderson; and Reagan won the election.
The LWV hosted its last debate in 1984, between Reagan and Walter Mondale. In 1987 the DP and RP created the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), with Democratic and Republican chairmen serving as the organization’s co-chairs. Apparently, “the Democratic and Republican parties decided that the group [LWV] was a little too independent for their tastes.”
The CPD next decided that the 1988 debates would be restricted to Republican George Bush and Democrat Michael Dukakis. It threw a sop to LWV, offering it the opportunity to host the debates, but its president Nancy M. Neuman said that “the demands of the two campaign organizations would perpetrate a fraud on the American voter … The League has no intention of becoming an accessory to the hoodwinking of the American public.” CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite. added that the resulting debates were “phony, part of an unconscionable fraud,” With the LWV out of the picture, that fraud has existed through 2020. Though the LWV had stood its ground against the Democrats in 1980, it would reverse its own principles and participate in the hoodwinking that it scorned in 1987. During the 2020 elections, the LWV Voters Guide which appeared on page V1 of the October 15, 2020 St. Louis Post-Dispatch refused to print the brief platforms of either the Green Party or Libertarian Party, falsely claiming that neither had satisfied its guidelines.
Missouri Green Party treasurer and candidate for Missouri State Treasurer Joe Civettini called the local LWV, asking why it excluded the platform of Howie Hawkins from its listing. Receiving a confused answer from its St. Louis branch, he sent an email to the national LWV office, quoting their criteria for inclusion, explaining how Hawkins/Walker met the criteria, and requesting an explanation, apology and reprinting of the Voters Guide. The only possible bone of contention was the League’s requirement regarding qualification in sufficient states.
So Civettini wrote “The candidate must qualify for the ballot in enough states to win a majority of electoral votes. Howie Hawkins/Angela Walker are on the ballot in 30 states or territories, and qualified as write-in on 17 others. Only LA, NV, OK, and SD will not be able to vote for, or write-in, Hawkins/Walker.” Apparently contemptuous of small parties that it once defended, the LWV sent no reply.
Green Party candidate for St. Louis County Executive Betsey Mitchell was similarly ignored in the Voters’ Guide of KSDK radio. An interesting thing happened in the middle of writing this article. I was clearing out old emails and ran across an exchange I had with KSDK radio during my 2016 campaign as Green Party candidate for the Governor of Missouri. KSDK requested that I respond to questions for posting on their web. Apparently, between 2016 and 2020 KSDK changed its policy from soliciting statements from all candidates who would appear on the ballot to focusing on only the corporate parties. It makes one wonder: Did the Democratic Party have its finger in that pie?
One of the most egregious omissions was in the website of St. Louis Public Radio (SLPR) where it featured candidates for Missouri state offices. It provided names and statements of all Democrat and Republican candidates and excluded Missouri Green Party candidates whose names were on all election ballots: Jerome Bauer for Governor, Kelly Dragoo for Lieutenant Governor, Joe Civettini for Treasurer, and Paul Lehmann for Secretary of State. It also excluded Libertarian Party candidates.
On October 25, I wrote to SLPR that “It appears that SLPR is attempting to interfere in elections in ways that would have worse outcomes than efforts by the Republican Party to disenfranchise voters due to ethnicity, income or age. The SLPR 2020 Voters Guide misrepresents and distorts choices to the St. Louis area which appear on ballots by intentionally presenting the only candidates as those of the Democratic Party and Republican Party. This creates a bias among those who view the Voters Guide that they must chose between the two big-money parties. By doing so, SLPR creates a predisposition among voters prior to casting their ballots and thereby distorts electoral outcomes.”
It was not enough for allies of the Democrats to block information from appearing in print or on websites. While allies of the RP went on a physical rampage to attack Black Lives Matter protesters, DP allies went on a legal rampage to wipe the Greens off the ballot. The attack on the Green Party was not limited to presidential nominees in “swing” states where the race between Biden and Trump would be close. As explained in Krystal Ball’s YouTube video Dem WAR On Green Party Exposes Voter Suppression Hypocrisy, “in Montana they successfully got five Green Party candidates kicked off the ballot. The GP got a sufficient number of signatures… but the DP actually went and contacted voters who had signed the GP petition and bullied them into recanting their signature … The Texas Democratic Party is suing to keep GP candidates off the ballot…At issue is requirement that third party candidates must pay a $5000 filing fee.”
The Wisconsin Supreme Court decided that the Greens should be taken off the ballot because its Vice-Presidential candidate Angela Walker committed the horrendous crime of moving during the petitioning process. In Pennsylvania, it was not Trump forces but the DP that delayed mail-in balloting with a court challenge against the Greens. They justified this by whining that in 2016 Hillary Clinton lost by 44,000 votes and Jill Stein received 49,000 votes. Aside from the absurd implication that everyone voting for Jill would have gone for Hillary if the GP was not there, there is a wee fact which Democrats skip over in their quest for obfuscation: the LibertarianParty (LP) got three times as many votes as did the Greens. Thus, with the equally absurd fantasy that all LP votes would have gone to Trump if that party disappeared, then Trump would have won by over 100,000 votes had the DP been successful in purifying ballot choices to only corporate parties.
It has been the goal of both corporate parties, but fanatically so for the DP, to totally annihilate the possibility of any independent party gaining widespread support not just for their appearance on the ballot, but any opportunity to present their perspectives.
How Can Parties Affect Politics without Winning Elections?
Since the clear attempt of the two parties is to crowd every other party out of debates, out of the news and out of existence, it becomes important to ask if there is any value whatsoever in voting for candidates who do not have any chance of getting into office. Although Missouri is not known for diverse and radical opinions, in addition to the two monied parties, between 1908 and 1928 its ballot included the following: Prohibition, Progressive, Socialist, Socialist Labor, Farm Workers and National Commonwealth Land. Other states such as New York could probably find dozens or even hundreds of small parties that have appeared on the ballot during the last couple of centuries.
The story of how small parties have affected US politics could fill an encyclopedia; but a few examples illustrate how they have altered political reality. Perhaps the best-known small party was Free Soil, which was critically important for ending slavery. “At a convention in Buffalo, New York on August 9, 1848, more than 10,000 men from all the northern states and three border states met in a huge tent in a city park. The resulting Free Soil Party was built on a coalition of four elements: the previous Liberty Party, Free-Soil Democrats, Barnburners, and Conscience Whigs.”
Though the first plank in its platform was “opposition to the extension of slavery into the territories,” it also backed tariff reform and a homestead law. Frustrated at not winning sufficient votes, many or most of its members switched to the Republican Party which nominated Abe Lincoln. Had Free Soil not existed, there is no way of knowing how long slavery would have persisted in the US.
The same year that Free Soil came into existence saw the birth of the Prohibition Party, which, though changing names multiple times, has run candidates through 2020. The party stemmed from the “perfectionist” religious revivalism of the 1820s and 1830s which called for fundamental social changes such as abolishing slavery and alcohol sales. By the end of the nineteenth century it embraced “women’s suffrage, equal racial and gender rights, bimetallism, equal pay, and an income tax” and was the first US party to accept women as members.
Its enormous influence resulted in the eighteenth amendment prohibiting alcohol sales which was ratified by sufficient states in January 1919. It was repealed in December 1933, showing conclusively that criminalizing drugs is an unworkable solution to a problem, no matter how serious that problems is. Though the prohibitionists had a very bad idea, they brought many good ones to light.
Union organizer Eugene Debs ran as the Socialist Party candidate for president in 1904, 1908, 1912 and 1920. Striking at the very heart of capitalism, Debs brought working people the opportunity to vote for a new society. The powerful threat of Debs’ socialist ideas were shown as the Democrat’s Woodrow Wilson threw him in prison for speaking out against the slaughter of World War I.
Twelve years after Republican president Warren Harding let Debs out of jail Franklin D. Roosevelt introduced the New Deal during his 1933 inaugural address. US history books often skip over the historical core of the New Deal, which was outlooks and organizing by the Socialist and Communist Parties. Like later civil rights legislation and the end to the Viet Nam war, Roosevelt’s New Deal victories grew out of mass movements of the day.
Skip forward almost half a century to the election of 1980. Though conservative on most issues, Independent John Anderson introduced his signature campaign proposal of raising the gas tax while cutting social security taxes. Anderson had strongly criticized the Viet Nam War as well as President Richard Nixon’s actions during the Watergate scandal. Later, he endorsed instant run-off voting, backed Nader in 2000, and helped found the Justice Party in 2012.
One of few small party efforts that seemed like it might hit the big time was the Reform Party of Ross Perot that brought him 18.9% of votes as an Independent in 1992 and 8.2% 1996. When Perot first ran in 1992, George Bush was floundering in his efforts to ram the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through congress. The upstart Democrat Bill Clinton convinced US corporate bosses that he could usher in the trade deal and won the election. Perot actually did a great service by pushing to the forefront of public awareness how awful NAFTA would be.
Those who participated in anti-NAFTA actions should remember that congressman Dick Gephardt from St. Louis supposedly led efforts to block the trade deal. Following a tip from a friend, I researched Gephardt’s traipsing through Mexico until I found the story in the Mexican newspaper Excelsior documenting the congressman’s promise that he would get NAFTA through the US congress. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch published my op-ed piece on June 1, 1993 exposing him as a con artist. Virtually all of the left liberals at the time ignored that Gephardt was merely telling them what they wanted to hear. Even after Gephardt left congress for a lucrative position lobbying for Goldman Sachs, Boeing, Visa Inc and Waste Management Inc., liberal Democrats refused to acknowledge that their party had secured NAFTA while allowing anti-NAFTA votes by congresspeople from districts needing union financial support.
Despite the virtue of the Reform Party in focusing on the vile nature of NAFTA, it imploded during the 2000 campaign over disagreements between wrestler Jesse Ventura, ultra-conservative Pat Buchanan and godfather-wannabe Ross Perot. Less involved in the fray was a newcomer who began political life as a Democrat, switched to being a Republican and then changed again to offer himself as a moderately conservative Reform Party presidential candidate.
The moderate of the day was Donald Trump, who denounced Buchanan for being “enamored” with Adolf Hitler, supported universal health care, proposed a “net worth” tax that would only apply to the richest 1%, advocated a tax cut for the 99%, praised Muhammad Ali, enjoyed dinner with Woody Harrelson, and declared that his ideal running mate would be the “wonderful woman” Oprah Winfrey. One explanation for Trump’s transformation between 2000 and 2016 would be that he experienced an epiphany upon rebirth as a divine being. Another explanation would be that he was not so different than Dick Gephardt and other corporate Democrats eternally searching for an audience gullible enough to believe them.
For over 200 years, small parties have combined, split, recombined, dropped old perspectives and added new ones. The theme that runs through the history of small parties is that they are consistently the origin of concepts that change the political trajectory. Established parties are where worn out programs go to die. The long sought for destruction of small parties would suck the life out of political discussion, leaving the US with ossified Siamese twins joined at their financial organs.
Liberal Democrats are much like Trump when they proclaim that the “winner” of an election is the one who gets the most votes. Another view, held vehemently by Free Soilers, Prohibitionists and Debs, is that the winners of elections are those who most successfully use them to inspire mass movements. Many latter day leftists laud the life of Debs while omitting these words from praises of him: “It is better to vote for what you want and not get it than to vote for what you don’t want and get it.”
One of the most absurd yet widely held liberal claims is that if Greens were not on ballot then all of its supporters would vote for DP. They know that this is not true, yet repeat it as if one tells a lie enough times then it becomes true. As Howie Hawkins explains, “The 2016 exit poll showed that 61% of Stein voters would have stayed home if she was not on the ballot.” The DP denies these exit poll results as vigorously as the RP denies climate change.
How Do We Know that Democrats Were Not Interested in Preventing a Trump Power Grab?
The corporate parties are determined that there will never again be a Free Soil Party, a Eugene Debs campaign, a John Anderson campaign, a Ross Perot campaign, or a Ralph Nader campaign. Though the DP and RP share this commitment, it has been the Democrats that have been obsessed with gobbling up Hansel and Gretel’s last crumb leading to a path of voter liberation. They have repeatedly prioritized destruction of the GP over prevention of a power grab by the Republicans.
Recall the election of 2000, when George W. Bush got a minority of the votes and Al Gore refused to challenge the finagling of Florida returns. For years, the Dems had been encouraged to support Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), which would have prevented a manipulated election. But the Dems have always hated IRV. Why? Because in every election it would show that millions, if not tens of millions, of their “supporters” would chose the GP first and the DP second. Vast numbers of people vote for a candidate they find somewhere between boring and despicable. The DP is committed to ensuring that election returns never reveal the clothes the Emperor is wearing (or not wearing). This is what caused the 2000 election of George W. Bush. And what did the DP do during the subsequent 20 years to prevent it from happening again? Absolutely nothing.
There is another way the Dems could prevent a second-place Repub (like Trump in 2016) from entering the White House: Proportional Representation rather than Winner-Take-All of Electoral College votes. This system would assign Electoral College votes in the proportion to the popular vote of each state. For example, if a state with 7 electoral votes had Candidate A winning 52% of the popular vote and Candidate B winning 45% of the vote, then 4 electoral votes would go to A and 3 to B. The Dems have no interest in either reform, even though they would increase the likelihood of a DP victory.
During the time period after the 2020 election, many were worried that RP-dominated legislatures could select RP presidential electors even if their state voted for Biden. We can safely predict that Dems will do nothing during the next 4, 8 or 12 years to prevent this from happening in future. Why? Because this would mean if there were a future unexpected surge in votes for Greens or Libertarians, a legislature dominated by the corporate parties would not be able to pull the same stunt to keep those parties out.
The DP and RP could look internationally for ways to prevent the manipulation of elections. According to Venezuelanalysis.com, “electronic voting machines are activated only when a fingerprint that corresponds to the voter’s ID number in the database is registered. Additionally, the machines print a paper receipt that can be checked by the individual voter and allows for a full manual count to be made if any results are contested. A manual count of more than half of the votes automatically takes place to ensure that the results tally.” Why would the DP prefer to lose elections to RP candidates over having fair elections that increased the number of Democrats put into office? Because the DP stands solidly with the RP in applauding corrupt puppets like Juan Guaidó.
Has the memory of senate Republicans manipulating the appointment of Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court already passed from the memory of the DP? What about memory that Joe Biden promised that before the election he would announce if he would ask senate Democrats to exert their constitutional right to increase the number of Supreme Court justices by 3 or 4 members? If the DP has a majority in the senate at any time during Joe Biden’s presidency, please do not hold your breath waiting for them to add court justices – you might pass out doing so.
It is not as if no party has pushed to change the constitution. Franklin Roosevelt angered many when he violated the long-standing tradition of a president running for only two terms. After he was gone, those upset that he won a third and fourth term amended the constitution to limit a president to two terms. It is tempting to explain this discrepancy as due to lack of backbone by the Dems. This is not a likely reason, since they have abundant venom for Fidel Castro, Hugo Chavez and the Green Party. The DP does not want to have a family feud with its RP twin because they share so much in common.
State Department Liberals Support Suppression
The evidence shows that (a) the Democratic Party has headed a relentless conspiracy to destroy small parties, (b) small parties are critical for introducing new outlooks into US politics, and (c) the DP has zero interest in preventing Republicans from stealing elections. These cohere into a pattern of depriving the electorate of choosing any ideas outside those approved by corporate interests.
The issue remains, however, if this destruction of left independence was justifiable as a tactic to replace the depraved Trump by a more reasonable Biden who, at least, offers some chance of being edged to the left. Please keep in mind that a version of this refrain is re-sung every four years in the US. The refrain always has the assumption that the Dem cannot possibly be as bad as the Repub.
The unspoken faith is that political direction is determined solely by elections and mass movements can accomplish little without victory at the polls. Conveniently left out is the fact that the longest string of progressive accomplishments won during the last half century was not when a Dem was in the White House but during the reign of the arch-degenerate Richard Nixon. His presidency saw the formal end to the war against Viet Nam, beginning of the food stamp program, creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, recognition of China, passage of the Freedom of Information Act, dismantling of the secret police’s COINTEL program, decriminalization of abortion, creation of Earned Income Tax Credits, a ban on biological weapons and passage of the Clean Water Act.
We can be certain that Biden’s election will embolden the DP to intensify its attack on independent parties. Once the DP establishment is finished using the liberals to eliminate electoral opposition, it will expel them like a duck with diarrhea. There is a serious concern that they will soon begin “focusing their crosshairs on” the left within their own party, such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
The flip side of purging of the left is telling those who remain in the DP that they can only influence it by proving their loyalty. If they want to become more effective they will need to rise higher in the DP ranks, which means quacking more of the party line.
More than one American leftist has entered the DP in hopes of creating a “left presence” within it. During the Kennedy-Johnson presidential years, the DP was full of former leftists who sought to “change the system from within.” In actually existing liberalism, the system changed them and they supported the US adventure into Viet Nam and turned on their former comrades. They were called “State Department Liberals” and no one captured their essence better than Phil Ochs in the closing stanza of his most famous song:
Once i was young and impulsive
I wore every conceivable pin
Even went to the socialist meetings
Learned all the old union hymns
But i’ve grown older and wiser
And that’s why i’m turning you in
So love me, love me, love me, i’m a liberal
– Phil Ochs, 1966
After DP aristocrats have denounced the anti-imperialism of their left opponents and gone on a legal rampage to remove the names of thought criminals from the ballot, it is only a hop, skip and jump to point them out to the secret police. Lest this be judged as too harsh, please remember that the DP in power collaborates with secret police across the world and helps teach them their tactics.
At some point in the march of unconditional surrender to corporate politics, many will say, “Can’t take this no more. We must break with the Dems. We must build a new party!” They will then discover the grave that was dug in 2020. It will be the grave of shutting off criticism, the grave of “unifying” to defeat Trump. They will discover that the DP, with which many snuggled so sweetly, sought to unify with them much as the lion sought “unity” with the lamb.
The great delusion of the left liberals has been that they could “first Dump Trump and then hold Biden accountable.” How can anyone possibly “push Biden to the left” or “hold his feet to the fire” if they have already told him that they will cave in and support him during the next election if the RP nominates a horrible candidate?
The DP is basically a vote-hustling corporation which seeks massive donations from bigger corporations in return for serving their financial interests upon election. The only possible way the left can “influence” the DP is to NOT vote for it. Once the left gives in and votes for it en masse, the left has gone far beyond accepting a mess of pottage for selling its birthright to bring forth a new world. It has abandoned that birthright for a vague hint that it might get a tiny whiff of pottage decades after capitalism has made the Earth unlivable for humans.
To be crassly honest, the liberals have already outlined to the Biden machine their best strategy to elect a DP president in 2024: Send a secret convoy to the RP puppet masters and beg them to renominate Trump. After all, liberal leaders have promised the DP that that it NEVER has to keep any promise of progressive action because no matter how many wars, international coups, racist exterminations, destruction of medical systems and attacks on working people, they will always crawl back to it during the next election.
The birthright of the left is to inspire people with our dreams – just as progressive visions have motivated mass movements for two centuries. It is our birthright to bring people the right to vote for giving birth to a new world – and not merely to chose between the two repulsive nightmares of a dying world. It is our birthright to gaze through the eyes of Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and countless others and say at the ballot box what we have seen. It is our birthright to hear the cries of those in poor countries whose lives are ground down by the incessant urge of capital to accumulate more, more, more. And, yes, though the corporate liberal may find it incomprehensible, it is our birthright to put these truths on the ballot so that others have the right to vote for what so many of us feel.
Stalwarts of the DPs’ right wing manipulated whatever rules they could find to block the great hope of campaigns for Bernie Sanders known as “Our Revolution.” Seeing themselves outmaneuvered, Bernie’s leaders refused to mount an independent campaign and shepherded their flock, feeding them to the Joe Biden Blob. “Our Revolution” was thereby transformed into the “Esau Revolution.”
So, exactly what does the Esau Revolution despise? The answer appeared in the book of Genesis thousands of years ago:
“Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.”
Genesis 25: 34
Don Fitz ([email protected]) is on the Editorial Board of Green Social Thought. He was the 2016 candidate of the Missouri Green Party for Governor. His book on Cuban Health Care: The Ongoing Revolution has been available since June 2020.