George W. Bush, Pim Fortuyn, Pervez Musharaff, Jacques Chirac, Robert Mugabe and the Importance of Honest and Fair Democratic Elections
George W. Bush's theft of the 2000 presidential election and Al Gore's acquiescence in the that theft, has given the green light to every other country to trash democratic norms. As the above list shows, there has not been a truly democratic election since Bush entered the White House. The attempted ouster of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, and the assassination of Pim Fortuyn in the normally scrupulously democratic Netherlands, shows that democracy is in retreat across the globe. This is a dangerous and stupid trend. Without democracy, war and economic collapse can not be far behind.
Democratic elections are not just about choosing a leader. They are about determining government policy for whoever wins. But the reason democracy works and is the most efficient form of government, is that the losers accept the outcome of the election. Accept, that is, as long as the election is honest and fair.
If the election is rigged, as it was last Sunday in France, or an out and out fraud as it was in Pakistan and Zimbabwe, or marred by assassination, as happened in the Netherlands yesterday, two things happen. First, the emerging government has no mandate nor political legitimacy, so it must rule by the gun. Winning democratic elections requires persuading people. If the election is crooked, when the loser seizes the office through force or fraud, then there is no governing coalition.
The reason democracy works is because the losers accept the result. However, the losers only accept the result when the election is fair and honest. When the election is riddled with fraud and corruption, then, not only do the losers not accept the result; but the fraud and corruption imbues the losers' program with the aura of moral rectitude.
Jacques Chirac could easily have beaten Jean Marie Le Pen in an honest and democratic election. The question is, why did he resort to fraud to win by a massive landslide? Does he think his 82% margin is a mandate for Chirac's non-program. Of course not. It is just a rejection of Le Pen, but there is no positive program. Had the French election been honest and democratic, Le Pen would have done better, but Chirac would have had a mandate to govern. Now, France is really without a government.
Many people seeking public office think it is clever to tell lies to get elected, but then "do the right thing" once they win. The truth is, the candidate is really lying to himself. The public program of the winning candidate is what ultimately becomes policy, like a self-fulfilling proposition.
This is why the world is sliding toward war and depression. Bush ran on a war platform. He gave Israel the green light by running on a platform of supporting peace, but "on their timetable, not ours."
Since the September 11th attacks and the needs of mounting a war against terrorism, Bush is trying to change course and pressure the Israelis to settle enough so that the United States can build a coalition to fight terrorism. Unfortunately, Bush will not be able to run away from his "winning" campaign platform. He put himself at the mercy of the Israelis, lost the election, stole it anyway, and now finds himself with no political leverage because the Israelis know he lost the election by over 500,000 votes.
This is why Bush has damaged and endangered the United States by stealing the election. Now is the time that the United States needs a President with a mandate from the people to force Israel to settle with the Palestinians. That is what the people voted when they elected Gore by a margin of 538,945 votes. Gore ran on a platform of pushing the peace process forward, not letting Israel wait forever to settle.
Events have shown that the American people knew better what was required in their President than the Supreme Court and a bunch of high paid crooked lawyers representing George W. Bush. Thousands of people have already paid with their lives, and millions more will pay with their jobs and standard of living.
Democracy is the most efficient and effective form of government. When the oligarchs get together and conspire to retain their privileges, when nation after nation abrogates the norms of democratic elections and acts like it does not matter, war and economic collapse can not be far behind.
According to this analysis, the Democratic Party is going to do exceedingly well in the November mid-term elections. Traditionally, the party of the President loses strength in mid-term elections. The Republicans are going to lose a lot. The Democrats will take control of both Houses of Congress by significant margins. They will pick up governorships in many states, including the big ones of Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania and perhaps even New York and Ohio; promoting current unknowns into contention for the 2004 Democratic presidential and vice-presidential nominations.
Gore has no chance of being re-nominated; but this will not be obvious until after the mid-term elections in November.
The United States is the leader of the world, with the strongest economy and military. It must also have the strongest democracy, which means, the most honest elections. The 2000 election was a disaster for the nation and the world. In six months, the voters will have a chance to fix the mistakes made two years ago by the political parties, the supreme court and the lawyers. Hold on to your hats.
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Contact: Joshua Leinsdorf