If you live in the non-swing state of New York, I urge you to vote for John Kerry on the Working Families Party line (Row E). This is the most powerful way for New Yorkers to cast a progressive vote in this national election.
For those unfamiliar with New York's voting rules, here's a brief reminder: Kerry is on the ballot twice, as the nominee of both the Democratic and Working Families Parties. A vote on the WFP line for Kerry counts just as much as a vote on the Democratic line, but it sends a message about what you believe in. It's a vote for equality and democracy, and for living wage jobs, affordable housing, universal healthcare and an end to preemptive wars.
The Nation was an early supporter of the WFP when it was established in 1998. It's fair to say our early hopes have been redeemed, and we have faith that the WFP can become even more potent and effective (including expanding to some new states) if it continues to prosper. Help it do so by casting your vote for Kerry under the banner of the Working Families Party, Row E. (Click here for more info on the WFP.)
And In Our State, Support Barbaro and Soares on the WFP Line
Frank Barbaro, who's running for Congress from Southern Brooklyn and Staten Island, deserves your support. As I wrote in this space last July, Barbaro is a genuine working class folk hero and a lifelong fighter for social and economic justice.
In normal times, the 13th district is a safe Republican seat but the demographics are shifting and the four-term Republican incumbent Vito Fossella has amassed a shameful record while ignoring his constituents. As a result, even papers like Crain's New York Business report that Fossella is "facing the most serious challenge since he was elected in 1997."
Barbaro has wrapped up endorsements from all the unions (except for the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association), and just the other day Sarah Brady held a press conference on Staten Island to hail Barbaro as a "leader for common sense laws that prevent gun violence and make our communities safer."
Barbaro is running not just on the Democratic ticket but also on the Working Families Party Line, which sees in him an exemplary messenger for its core mission "to inject the concerns of working class, middle class and poor people into the public debate."
As Dan Cantor at WFP explains Barbaro's appeal: "If Paul Wellstone was a 78-year old Italian from Brooklyn, his name would be Frank Barbaro." To win on November 2nd, Barbaro needs support from smart and strategic progressives. Click here for more info on his campaign.
Meanwhile, in Albany, young activist attorney David Soares rocked the county in mid-September with his stunning landslide victory in the Democratic Primary for District Attorney.
A WFP nominee, Soares' race served as a referendum on the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws and his victory was a terrific accomplishment for the urban-suburban, black-white, gay-straight, grassroots community-labor campaign led by the WFP's Albany chair. The defeated Democratic Party incumbent, Paul Clyne, landed a spot on the Independence Party line and since then has been waging an ugly and negative campaign (along with the Republican in the race) to smear Soares for his activist past.
But, so far, not only is Soares leading in a three-way fight (according to the latest figures from an independent Albany Times Union/News Channel 13 poll) but reform of the Rockefeller drug laws--a key campaign issue for Soares--appears to be popular. A whopping sixty-six percent of respondents said Soares' reform stance was a plus. (This crosses party lines, with some 22 percent of Republicans polled saying they will vote for him because of his upport for drug law reform).
In the next few days, here's what you can do to assist Soares and the fight to repeal the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws:
1/ Support Soares by clicking here.
2/ Support the Working Families Party by clicking here.
3/ Vote for Soares if you live in Albany County and/or tell friends who live there to vote for him.
Steve Cobble, political consultant; progressive strategist father to two young women; former political director of the Rainbow Coalition; former McGovern county coordinator in New Mexico and elected delegate to the Democratic National Convention as a twenty-year-old in '72; national delegate coordinator for Jackson in '88, strategist for Nader in '00, strategist for Kucinich in '04 and occasional Nation contributor writes:
"Maybe you're young, and against the war. Or you're blue-collar, and think both major parties are just fronts for the big corporations. Or you think Bush is a liar, but Kerry's too cautious to win your heart.
"So you're still thinking about voting for Ralph Nader, or David Cobb. But you also live in a swing state, and you know it's close. You know it could go either way in Wisconsin, or New Mexico, or yes, Florida.
One of the many strange hallmarks of Election 2004 is the numerous Republican groups which have formed to organize support for Democrat John Kerry's campaign. There are also, of course, "Bush Democrats" around, but they're far less organized, and if my colleague Patrick Mulvaney's crawl around the internet is any indication, far fewer in number than their counterparts.
President Bush's extremist agenda, his Administration's skyrocketing budget deficits and his dishonesty in the run-up to war are the main reasons cited by longtime Republican voters for abandoning their party's nominee. The choice is simple to voters like Mitch Dworkin, who explains in an article on the Republicans for Kerry 2004 site that, "Bush and most of his Administration represent an extreme faction of the Republican Party and are out of touch with the American people."
There are numerous groups and organizations to check out to get a sense of the unusual number of Republican and conservative groups opposing President Bush in the upcoming election:
There are also several less formal, web-based groups comprised of Republicans opposing the Bush re-election effort, including the "Republicans Against Bush" Meetup and an AOL journal called "Republicans for the ouster of King George II." And even the Log Cabin Republicans, which notes on its website that "every victory for a fair-minded Republican is a victory for the future of [the Republican] Party," have pointedly chosen not to endorse Bush's re-election bid.
It's unclear what effect these typically GOP voters will have on the race's electoral math but it's clear that Bush is the most unpopular Republican nominee in memory among members of his own party.
With eight days to go before election day, it's the "November Surprise" that we need to worry about. Every day brings reports of voter intimidation and suppression in the key battleground states.
A front-page story in Saturday's New York Times reported that the Republican Party has registered thousands of people to serve as partisan "vote challengers" at Ohio polling places, in what they say is an effort to prevent "voter fraud." Meanwhile, the Columbus Dispatch reported that based on a mailing to newly registered voters, the GOP plans to challenge 35,000 voters in an effort to keep them from the polls.
This disturbing news from Ohio points to the potential for massive voter disenfranchisement in November--and additional confusion and chaos at the polls in this key swing state and others, like Michigan, Wisconsin and Arizona--that have seen huge increases in voter registration.
This article, from the September 8, 1904, issue of The Nation, is a special selection from The Nation Digital Archive. If you want to read everything The Nation has ever published on presidential politics, click here for information on how to acquire individual access to the Archive--an electronic database of every Nation article since 1865.
Sorry, Jon Stewart, but Sean Hannity is the king of television comedy.
Yes, of course, "The Daily Show" is hilarious.
But the Emmy Award-winning Comedy Central program featuring Stewart's cutting comments on the foibles of campaigners for president and spot-on parodies of network election coverage by his crew of fake news reporters is just too intellectually advanced. If you want to see fall-down funny political humor on cable television, click over to the Fox News Channel and watch Hannity "interview" members of the Republican ticket.
Thanks to Nation reader Keith Kritselis who wrote in to alert us to a new website he created that he's hoping will help clear up some of the confusion caused by what looks like a spate of conservative attempts to keep just enough potential voters from casting their ballot next Tuesday.
The website's goal is to help voters identify and find their polling place, which is especially important in the wake of news that local Republican poll watchers may try to bar people from voting in any form if they mistakenly show up at the wrong polling place.
As Kritselis writes, "our database of online poll locators has been slowly growing. We now can get 63 percent of the US population the exact location of their polling site in 4 clicks or less. For the other 37 percent we provide a local phone number which they cancall to receive the information they need...This is a small one man operation with no marketing dollars. Anything you can do to help get the word out would be greatly appreciated."
Bush famously told Bob Woodward that when it came to going to war with Iraq he didn't ask his biological father, who had gone to war with Iraq, for advice. He talked to a Higher Father instead.
In Bush's faith-based presidency, the formulation is simple: Bush believes in God, God believes in him, and therefore we should, like God, also believe in Bush. Doubters of the Preacher-in-Chief risk the fires of hell, according to Dick Cheney, in the form of another terrorist attack.
As if this weren't frightening enough, it appears Bush may be talking to the wrong Higher Father. "The Lord told me Iraq was going to be (a) a disaster, and (b) messy," Pat Robertson told Paula Zahn on CNN. But when the evangelical leader passed on the divine warning to Bush, the president's response was: "Oh, no, we're not going to have any casualties."
Reservists mutiny in Iraq, old people keel over standing in line for flu shots and all sorts of cats leap out of Bush's bag of secrets: According to Ron Suskind's revelatory New York Times Mag