United States primaries elections plutocracy

Red-spotted newt

I quite like newts. Meaning this kind,

not this kind.

Newt Gingrich cartoon

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Gingrich, Perry fail to qualify for Virginia Republican ballot

27 December 2011

In a stark demonstration of the unrepresentative and undemocratic character of the US two-party electoral system, Republican Party officials in the state of Virginia announced last week that only two of seven active candidates for the party’s presidential nomination had qualified for ballot status in the state’s primary election set for March 6, 2012.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Texas Governor Rick Perry both filed petitions with between 11,000 and 12,000 signatures to meet the state requirement of 10,000 signatures of registered voters. After the elimination of ineligible and non-registered voters, both campaigns fell short of the 10,000 requirement.

Three other Republican presidential candidates—Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, former US Senator Rick Santorum, and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman—did not even attempt to gain ballot status in Virginia, the 12th largest US state by population.

The State Board of Elections is expected to approve a ballot at its meeting December 28 that will include only former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and Congressman Ron Paul, whose campaigns did file petitions with more than 10,000 valid signatures.

The Gingrich campaign initially declared it would seek write-in status, apparently unaware that Virginia does not permit write-in candidates in primary elections. Later, a spokesman said the campaign was considering a lawsuit, although with little likelihood of success.

That a supposedly major political campaign can be dismissed so easily speaks volumes about the nature of the US political system. Gingrich had been leading in the polls in Virginia, with 30 percent of likely voters in the Republican primary saying they would support him, compared to 25 percent for Romney.

This “frontrunner” status was not the result of any genuine popular groundswell of support for the former House speaker, a truly repugnant political figure who has been out of office for 14 years, raking in millions as a high-priced pitchman for various corporate interests.

The Gingrich campaign proved unable to carry out the task of collecting 10,000 valid signatures in Virginia, with the additional requirement of a geographical distribution across the state, with at least 400 signatures from each of the 11 congressional districts. There was an additional obstacle, a ban on out-of-state petition gatherers.

Unable to mobilize local supporters in the state where he has long made his residence, Gingrich relied on paid signature gatherers, reimbursed at the rate of $1.50 per signature, an effort that yielded just over 11,000 signatures. This $16,000 investment proved unavailing, however, as did similar resources thrown into a petition drive to place Texas Governor Perry on the ballot.

Bachmann, Santorum and Huntsman, more hard-pressed in terms of resources, did not spend the money or the time to mount a petition drive in Virginia, effectively ceding the state to the better-financed campaigns.

The crass financial calculations and the crude ballot-rigging that has resulted is a demonstration of the real nature of the US political system. The various candidates do not represent genuine mass constituencies, but rather rival blocks of money, as sections of the corporate elite invest in one or another potential officeholder.

This applies to both parties, the Democrats as much as the Republicans, with President Obama’s reelection campaign expected to be the first to raise and spend more than $1 billion, more than 50 times the amount spent on presidential campaigns only two decades ago.

In the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, the uniformly right-wing candidates have risen and fallen, and in some cases disappeared outright, on the basis of prowess in fundraising and showings in the polls, which are largely driven by the corporate media.

First Bachmann, then Perry, then Herman Cain and now Gingrich has been anointed the “frontrunner,” without a single vote being cast and without any of them showing broad popular support.

Perry, for example, was touted as a leading candidate solely because of his huge fundraising, more than $17 million in the last reporting period, but turned out to be tongue-tied and ignorant when compelled to appear on stage with his rivals.

Romney has been able to avoid such ups and downs only because, as a lesser member of the financial aristocracy, worth an estimated $250 million to $500 million, he is automatically regarded as a “credible” candidate since he can self-finance the primary campaign.

Flashback: Newt Gingrich once praised Mitt Romney’s Massachusetts health care law: here.

Confused? Don’t be. Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Republican primaries: here.

Millionaires Are Now the Majority in Congress: The 1% Literally Rule Us: here.

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16 thoughts on “United States primaries elections plutocracy

  1. The Mason Missile

    The E-Newsletter of

    John Oliver Mason

    December 26, 2011




    Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.

    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

    (Please forward to your friends)

    (Donations appreciated)

    Greetings, brothers and sisters! I wish everyone a happy holiday, whichever one you do-Hanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, New Years. Have a blast, celebrate ALL of them!

    I am heartily SICK of the whines coming from the rightist contingent about the “war on Christmas,” acting like Christians are being repressed and oppressed. (I continue to greet everybody “Happy holidays” – ALL of them.)

    This whining comes from a political Christianist movement that has campaigned against Islamic Sharia law being implemented by the law courts in this country, and which demands ALL Muslim Americans, good law-abiding folk, be placed under surveillance; the same damn movement that demands prayer in public schools and who uses their alleged religious beliefs as an excuse to discriminate against lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender people, to prohibit same-sex marriage, and to prohibit LGBT people from military service, based on THEIR version of what they interpret as “Christianity.” Authoritarian/fascist movements, like this one, and like ALL bullies, tend to play the victim and the oppressed party when someone finally stands up to them.

    Many of them have found a home in the Republican Party. In the debates of their presidential candidates, they cheered at the idea of an innocent person being executed, and of a person dying from lack of decent health care; and booed a young man in military service (which they supposedly love) serving in Iraq (which they still think was a good idea) simply because he was gay, as he asked the candidates if they would restore the stupid “don’t and, don’t tell” rule.

    What a cliffhanger we’ve been through- with the extension of the payroll tax cut and of unemployment compensation. The House Republicans, Tea Party types, all of a sudden oppose tax cuts- but it was for working people, not for their corporate paymasters funding their campaigns. Do we have to keep going through this, a political movement dedicated entirely to keeping Obama looking bad so he doesn’t get reelected? The main thing is JOBS for working people, so they don’t have to go on welfare and be the scapegoat for federal budget deficits created by no taxes on corporations and unnecessary wars.

    I’m still pleased with the Occupy movement; they have taken the media thunder out of the Tea Parties, simply by their organizing, coming together to express outrage at corporate dominance of our politics. The commercial media constantly errs to the right politically, so as not to offend corporate executives or long accepted conventional wisdom; thus the media made such a big deal of the Tea Parties, hyping them as a popular uprising, and not as the Astroturf corporate-sponsored event it has always been. The Occupy movement, however, was brought up over alternative media sites, about two weeks before the mainstream media found it. While we must work to find our way into the media to get our message across, we find we can do without it, using our own networks.

    Let’s celebrate the New Year, so we’ll be rested up to fight for the people. Bye!

    John Oliver Mason
    Freelance journalist, poet
    Member, National Writers Union/UAW Local 1981
    Steward-Delegate, Local 696
    American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
    2234 Cantrell Street
    Philadelphia, PA 19145
    (215)271-2982 (home)
    (215)687-9713 (cell)
    Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson



    The Republican Party is conducting a war to keep college students from voting.

    In GOP-controlled states, this war on college students is part of an orchestrated campaign to enact legislation that would limit a wide range of constitutionally entitled voting: from obstructing college student voter registration to making it harder for seniors, minorities – and anyone who is in a demographic group that tends to vote Democratic – to vote for the candidates of their choice.

    The bad news is that many of these laws are now in place; the good news is that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing some of these efforts, but not all of them by any means. Just last week the DOJ indicated that it will oppose the South Carolina voter ID requirement.

    In a December 27th New York Times (NYT) editorial, it is noted that:

    Seven states have already passed strict laws requiring a government-issued ID (like a driver’s license or a passport) to vote, which many students don’t have, and 27 others are considering such measures. Many of those laws have been interpreted as prohibiting out-of-state driver’s licenses from being used for voting.

    The New York Times editorial board deplores the efforts to limit the most fundamental exercise of democracy, the right to vote:

    Next fall, thousands of students on college campuses will attempt to register to vote and be turned away. Sorry, they will hear, you have an out-of-state driver’s license. Sorry, your college ID is not valid here. Sorry, we found out that you paid out-of-state tuition, so even though you do have a state driver’s license, you still can’t vote.

    Political leaders should be encouraging young adults to participate in civic life, but many Republican state lawmakers are doing everything they can instead to prevent students from voting in the 2012 presidential election.

    As we grow up, we learn early on in school about the great American tradition of electing leaders to represent us. It makes a mockery of the notion that this nation is a great democracy when one party imposes – as the Times decries – “these restrictions to win an election [that] will embitter a generation of students in its first encounter with the machinery of democracy.”

    The voting age in the United States is 18. Not allowing citizens over that age to vote based on partisan electoral strategy isn’t merely politics as usual; it is a mugging of democracy.

    Mark Karlin
    Editor, BuzzFlash at Truthout



    Rick Santorum may or may not “surge” to “win, place or show” in the Iowa caucuses, but playing political poker, he’s pulled out the race card.

    More than 90 percent of Iowa residents are white, and even though Iowans are not rabid racists by relative standards, Santorum is going for the GOP voters who feel that their taxes are being taken from them and redistributed to minorities.

    According to a January 2 CBS news story, “CBS News found that of the people on food stamps in Iowa, only nine percent are black and 84 percent are white.”

    Why is this important to the Santorum slide into racism? Because the same CBS article reported that the former Pennsylvania senator went out of his way to pronounce: “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money; I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money.”

    Santorum was answering a question “about foreign influence on the US economy” when he made this unrelated statement, which makes it about 100 percent certain that this was a contrived comment that was pre-planned to appeal to voters.

    Why would the arch, right-wing self-described disciple of God go Strom Thurmond on the last day before the Iowa caucuses?

    The answer lies in numerous studies that show that most working-class whites resent higher taxes because they falsely believe that the funds will be redistributed to “lazy” blacks and Latinos. So, when Santorum reinforces the myth that working-class tax money is used disproportionately for welfare for minorities, he is waving a red flag of resentment based on a racist lie. Despite the fact that the number of whites who receive food stamps in Iowa, for instance, is well over 80 percent, blacks are in the single digits as food stamp recipients in the Hawkeye State.

    This is one of the great conundrums for progressives to understand; many working-class residents are rabidly anti-tax because they believe that they are supporting minorities through the government taking their money in the form of taxes.

    Santorum has reinforced his foray into racial hot-button territory recently by saying that, as black people, the Obamas should be against abortion, that the Obamas are good role models for the great number of dysfunctional black families etc.

    The man who sees gay orientation as leading to man-on-dog sex also sealed the deal by coming out against diversity: “The greatness of America is people who are diverse coming together to be one,” Santorum said. “If we celebrate diversity, we lay the groundwork for that conflict.”

    People like Santorum show us that the Civil War still rages, and that the legacy of the likes of Jesse Helms lives on in a former northern senator who had his children view the placenta of his wife’s miscarriage in the family dining room.

    Playing the race card may be the least of his mental health problems.

    Mark Karlin,
    Editor of BuzzFlash at Truthout


  4. NH’s red-spotted newt wants to meet suited Newt

    January 6, 2012

    MANCHESTER, N.H.—New Hampshire’s state amphibian — the Spotted Newt — has a few words for the suited one.

    The red-spotted critter — also the official mascot of New Hampshire Magazine — is planning to drop by the Newt Gingrich for President campaign headquarters in Manchester on Friday.

    Magazine editor Rick Broussard said in a news release the newt wants to discuss the campaign’s “casual and reckless appropriation” of the newt’s own identity as one of the “cutest and most humble of New Hampshire’s state symbols.”

    The newt, who likes to be called “Spot,” notes that Gingrich’s New Hampshire website and headquarters are named Newt Hampshire. The newt also says the campaign featured a contest called “Spot the Newt” where office visitors were invited to search for a hidden newt toy.

    © Copyright 2012 Associated Press.


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  9. Something pretty major happened this week – one of the insidious, crazy and irresponsible statements made by Tea Party Congresswoman Michele Bachmann jumped across the Atlantic Ocean and almost created an international incident.

    Bachmann, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, was cited as a key source for an unsubstantiated rumor that the US government has been backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt’s recent elections – a charge that led to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s motorcade being pelted with tomatoes and shoes by angry protesters during her recent visit to Cairo. The rumor was apparently spread by far-right websites associated with Glenn Beck.

    This is a sneak peek into our media future if we cannot continue to build new institutions for independent online journalism. Truthout’s mission is to embody the highest standards of journalism while working to grow our robust online newsroom.


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