9/25/2004

Bought judges

These efforts are unparalleled in U.S. history and should gravely concern anyone who cares about the future of open politics in this country. The methods employed by the Democrats this year are far worse than any tactics used against the Progressive Party's Henry A. Wallace in 1948 or against Eugene J. McCarthy, who waged a forlorn independent bid for the White House in 1976.



Many of the legal challenges filed by the Democrats this summer have been simply frivolous in nature, deliberately designed to harass the consumer activist and drain his campaign's dwindling resources. Former Democratic congressman Toby Moffett, a corporate lobbyist in D.C. and co-founder of something called Ballot Project, Inc. was quoted in the Washington Post: 'We wanted to neutralize [Nader's] campaign by forcing him to spend money and resources defending these things. But much to our astonishment we've actually been more successful than we thought we'd be in stopping him from getting on at all. - www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A26933-2004Aug23.html?nav=rss_politics



Democratic efforts to knock Nader off the ballot this year are unprecedented, but major party interference in third-party presidential campaigns is hardly a new phenomenon. In the razor-thin 1884 presidential election, the two major parties manipulated the Anti-Monopoly Party's Benjamin Butler and Prohibitionist John St. John. In one of the dirtiest presidential campaigns in American history, the Democrats, anxious to regain the White House, put tremendous pressure on Butler to withdraw from the contest, essentially offering the former Massachusetts governor his choice of cabinet post in Grover Cleveland's administration. Meanwhile, the Republicans, fearing that the Prohibition Party's St. John would take votes from their candidate, desperately tried to bribe him to drop out of the race, while simultaneously secretly funding Butler's third-party candidacy in the hope that he would siphon enough votes from Cleveland to throw the election to James G. Blaine, the Republican candidate.

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