Some things may be true even if Pat Buchanan says them, and the inescapable fact is that the 2000 presidential election has so far been a rigged affair, bearing more resemblance to a plebiscite in some banana republic than to anything recognizable as a democratic contest. However, the entry of Buchanan as a supposed “insurgent” is itself part of the pre-arrangement and manipulation. Here we have a loyal Beltway veteran, grown like a mold on the dank sponge of the national security state, and well known to the powers that be as someone absolutely reliable. He’s already shown himself quite willing to play the game of slush funds and matching funds. There’s your designated dissident–sorry we left that out of the mix when we were telling you who the candidates would be and what their “issues” would look like. Just for fun, why not set him up against Donald Trump, so that even the supposed outsider faction can replicate the only allowable division, between machine-produced clones on the one hand and nutball narcissistic tycoons on the other.
It wasn’t to be expected that any remotely comparable ink would accrue to the brave volunteers of Public Campaign and the Alliance for Democracy when they took their protest to Capitol Hill on October 26. A genuine foe of oligarchy like Ronnie Dugger, with his reasoned case for the public financing of campaigns, really does seem like a quixotic loony to our consensual press. (And since he doesn’t manifest any obvious nostalgia for, say, the Third Reich, he doesn’t even count as a colorful character for Style-section purposes.) The Washington Post ignored the rally on the Capitol steps, where the largest groups of attendees were high school students not yet inured to cynicism and not yet old enough to vote. The paper also ignored Ronnie’s act of civil disobedience in the Rotunda.
The defeat of the rather tepid McCain-Feingold initiative in the Senate, which was the proximate cause of the October 26 protest, also marked the eclipse of any remaining hope for a fair or open race next year. The fix is in; the special interests will pretend to have an election, and you if you choose can pretend to vote in it. The only recourse that I can see is an appeal to the international community and the United Nations to send accredited observers to monitor the “process.”
The United States loves nothing better than to certify other countries’ ballots as “free and fair,” so there can hardly be any principled objection to a delegation of monitors from democratic nations taking up position, pens in hand, as America makes its “choice.” Indeed, given the awful power of the President and Congress over the affairs of other nations, it’s surprising that this hasn’t been suggested already.
Here are some of the questions that the UN and international monitors would have to consider, before validating the 2000 election:
1) Has there already been the open purchase of votes, as seemed to be the acknowledged case in the Iowa caucuses?
2) Has there already been the open purchase of candidates, as is implied by the immense (and, regarding the source of donations, rather obscure) fund amassed by Governor Bush of Texas?
3) Are there restrictions placed on the entry of third-party or independent candidates? Have these restrictions been imposed by a collusion of the existing parties?
4) Do there exist impediments to the placing of minority parties on ballots?
5) Do there exist impediments to voter registration?