From firstname.lastname@example.org Tue Oct 3 11:45:10 2000
From: "Sadanand, Nanjundiah (Physics)" <email@example.com>
Subject: Nader on today's "presidential debate"
Date: Tue, 3 Oct 2000 09:54:35 -0400
Why Voters Will Lose Out In Tuesday's Debate
By Ralph Nader, in the Boston Globe,
Saturday 30 September 2000
Four years ago a majority of eligible voters, in effect, cast their
ballots for "none of the
above" in the presidential election. As a result, President Clinton
was returned to office in
1996 by only slightly less than 25 percent of the electorate.
Democracy is in a serious crisis when more than 94 million voters stay
at home and turn
their backs on the precious right to select the people who will lead
the nation. Commanding
the money, the media, and the access to both the ballots and debates,
the Republican and
Democratic parties have designed and enforced a closed system that
largely shuts out new
parties and new ways to strengthen our democracy.
One result has been a decline in voter turnout, a citizenry that
increasingly that has lost
control of its government, and a nation in which a few wealthy and
dictate public policy that does not benefit the majority of Americans.
The two major parties will parade their candidates before the nation in
the first presidential
debates of this century at the University of Massachusetts at Boston on
Tuesday night. On
the stage will be two more "look-alike" candidates speaking to a
narrow set of issues and
avoiding any utterances that might step on the toes of their major
corporate donors, who
have carefully divided the campaign loot between the two parties.
Absent will be candidates who speak about what to do regarding the
concentration of power by big business over our governments, our
It is not the candidates but the citizenry who will lose out Tuesday
night as George W.
Bush and Al Gore are allowed to sidestep issues that are important to
Americans and the solutions that would improve their lives.
Subject matters that will be avoided by Bush and Gore include:
corporate welfare giveaways
that could be better used to provide for human needs; weak enforcement
crime, fraud and abuse; restrictive labor laws that are keeping tens of
millions of low-wage
workers from forming trade unions; media concentration; racism;
renewable energy; full
public funding of election campaigns; universal, accessible health
insurance for all
Americans; and the renegotiation of global trade treaties with labor,
consumer rights standards that pull communities up rather than pushing
Instead, viewers will be watching a ritualistic debate by two
hereditary politicians financed
by corporate cash. It is little surprise that the Commission on
Presidential Debates, created
and controlled by the Democratic and Republican parties, has chosen to
third-party candidates out of the debates and a national television
Sadly, some commentators have endorsed the exclusion of my Green Party
which uniquely advocates new tools of democracy based on a long record
The Republican and Democratic parties are not an enshrined duopoly in
Our society should never let them, by default, control the "Khyber
Pass" to tens of millions
of voters who will watch these debates. A large majority of the
American people want to
have leading third-party candidates in the debates.
Anyone who discounts the value of debates in gaining public support has
only to look at
Minnesota. There, Jesse Ventura, a former professional wrestler, was
mired in third place in
the gubernatorial race with poll numbers in single digits. But he was
given a place in the
debates, and that exposure vaulted him into the governor's chair.
The Minnesota experience weighs heavily on the Democratic and
Republican parties. The
major-party machines, with their handpicked commission serving as the
sole referee, are
not about to give up their monopoly control of the debates.
Despite the machinations of the two major parties and their corporate
paymasters, citizens still can have the final say in a democracy. If
enough people deny
them their votes, sooner or later the political machine will have to
give up their key to their
American democracy does not belong to the decayed Democratic and
Republican parties. It
belongs to the people, and they should reclaim and rebuild it for
themselves and for future
Ralph Nader is presidential candidate for the Green Party.
Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company