HIGHTOWER: A Plutocracy, Not a Democracy

They're off and running! The quadrennial presidential horserace is underway with the candidates rounding the first turn in Iowa and New Hampshire.The media establishment has sent out its multimillion-dollar teams of pundits, pollsters, and others to drum up the drama of the race, telling us spectators how exciting, how momentous, how democratic it all is.What they don't tell us, however, is that IT'S ALREADY OVER! Even before we get to vote, the 2000 "winner" has been decided, and it's not Bush, Gore, McCain, or Bradley. Instead, the winner is a handful of CEOs, lobbyists and fat cats who have bankrolled each of the top contenders. You see, the real election was held last year, and only one-twentieth of one percent of the American people participated. These are the privileged few who had intimate meetings with the candidates in corporate suites and the private dens of the superrich. To get the big bucks, each and every contender agreed to the status quo policies of corporate rule, assuring a continuation of income stagnation for the middle class, global trade scams, weak-kneed environmental policies, monopolistic mega mergers, biotech insanity, HMO abuses, campaign finance corruption, and so forth.In 1999, these moneyed interests chose our choices for 2000. The result is that no matter who wins, they win. Goldman Sachs, for example, has put tens of thousands of dollars into Gore's campaign. And into Bush's, and Bradley's and McCain's. Which ever of these four makes it to the Oval Office, they can be trusted to govern from the perspective of Wall Street, rather than from the perspective of your street. Indeed, you won't find any of them even raising, much less disagreeing on, such basic issues of national importance as corporate downsizing, the World Trade Organization, or single-payer health insurance for all.This is Jim Hightower saying ... Election 2000 is not an exercise in democracy, but in plutocracy.

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