No Good Christians are Capitalists

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” Matthew 6:24 NIV

Introduction

I grew up singing a short little song called “Bugs for Lunch” in my Lutheran elementary school. Although I’m 23 now, I remember it vividly. The song begins, “Jesus said John the Baptist was great// The greatest man who ever lived//And if old John was with us today//he’d tell us something like this” and continues, “If you’re on the wrong road//Go the other way!//If you’ve got two coats give one away!” This references Luke chapter 3, when John the Baptist gave commands to those seeking baptism.

“Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same,” he said, “don’t collect any more than you are required.” In essence, if you have enough, you are obligated to give what is left over to those who are in need. This command, and many more like it, seem to have been forgotten or ignored by modern Christians. God’s commands to be generous and compassionate seem to be interpreted, by even the most generous wealthy Christians, as limp suggestions to volunteer at the local homeless shelter or donate a few dollars to a charity while they hoard wealth and decry public welfare. They hope to confine these commands to parts of their life they feel comfortable applying it to, rather than to everything, as intended. Anyone who thinks this comforting hope is founded in John’s teachings, or any of those following, is lying to themselves. John did not command that the man of two cloaks donate a bit of money to get the uncloaked closer to buying his own, nor did he command that we interrogate those in need before we decide if they are worthy of whatever food we deign to give them.

I think it would be a great act of insincerity to think John meant that your obligation to help the poor ends with your desire to live extra comfortably, or that it shouldn’t apply when it’s a policy you can vote to be enacted by your government. Choosing to ignore these commands is no small sin (though yes, they are viewed equally to our Father), it is one that underlies and innervates the entire message of God’s holy book, and that will be demonstrated below. The verses below are drawn from across the entire Bible, NIV, and I challenge you, reader, to pick a doctrine of Christianity you would deem important and attempt to find more explicit, repeated references to it than these: verses in reckless generosity rather than careful hoarding, necessities of life freely given without interrogation into need, compassion for those imprisoned by the state, and the scorn of profit from the exploitations of others.

These are not suggestions, or praises for certain holy individuals. Often, it is easy for Christians to say these traits are admirable, or good. But these are not optional. They are commands, as binding as prayer and baptism. Simply calling yourself a Christian will not save you from judgement, and I ask whether you believe in your heart that, when we meet God, He will excuse your lack of action in light of that title you gave yourself. For “what good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” James 2:14.

Instruction

God’s instructions against capitalism are not subtle, nor are they debatable. He is clear: extracting profit, neglecting to give freely and without interrogation, hoarding wealth and doling it out only so long as you remain comfortable in excess–these are damning offenses. Rich people are inherently and explicitly said to have a nearly impossible route to enter heaven, and if you have wealth, I challenge you to think every single day about whether you truly, honestly believe that you are so uniquely righteous among your wealthy peers that it will be you who have risen above and beyond to justify salvation. You have been blessed with money and power unimaginable to vast swaths of the globe, including this very country. What about your stewardship of this blessing, what about your extreme generosity and deeds entitle you to a spot in Heaven with the poor brothers and sisters you knew of but neglected on Earth?

Matthew 19:23-24
And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”

Why is it easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to go to heaven? First, note that no other sin in the Bible is treated this harshly—a murder can simply repent and go to heaven, there is nothing unduly difficult about that. Wealth is different because it is a continuous sin. Repentance requires three things: (1) admitting you did something wrong, (2) taking steps to stop doing that thing, and (3) asking for forgiveness. While you can repent relatively easily from murder or adultery because they are discrete sins, riches and disproportionate wealth are continuous sins. Most people of vast wealth can’t even bring themselves to think of that wealth as a bad thing, and even if they do they do not think to take steps to remedy their misdeeds. And I have yet to find any examples of a rich person giving all their riches away as they are instructed to do. No, capitalist “Christians” love to quote verses like Matthew 6:26-34:

Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.

This demonstrates, of course, the idea that capitalist “Christians” like to believe. The world can’t be that bad for those without their vast wealth. After all, does not God care for the birds and the lilies of the fields? But this widely cited verse of God’s love, to these hypocrites, applies only to the poor. Not them, of course. They need their wealth, and even if they have enough, they need to keep their wealth ever-growing, even if that is the very definition of greed. Those with vast wealth do not trust God to provide for them if they were to give away what they have–they instead groan and clutch at their hoards, whipping themselves into a frenzy and frothing at the mouth in attempts to justify why they need it all. This verse does nothing for capitalist Christians but keep them feeling good about having far more than enough while people without their fortune live on streets, neglect their physical and mental health needs, and have less opportunity overall because they simply have too little.

John 11:10-11
“What should we do then?” the crowd asked. John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.”

Isaiah 58:2-7
For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. ‘Why have we fasted,’ they say, ‘and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

Matthew 25:40-46
Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’ “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’ “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’ “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”

Job 31:16-25, 28
“If I have denied the desires of the poor or let the eyes of the widow grow weary, if I have kept my bread to myself, not sharing it with the fatherless— but from my youth I reared them as a father would, and from my birth I guided the widow— if I have seen anyone perishing for lack of clothing, or the needy without garments, and their hearts did not bless me for warming them with the fleece from my sheep, if I have raised my hand against the fatherless, knowing that I had influence in court, then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let it be broken off at the joint. For I dreaded destruction from God, and for fear of his splendor I could not do such things. “If I have put my trust in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security,’ if I have rejoiced over my great wealth, the fortune my hands had gained… then these also would be sins to be judged, for I would have been unfaithful to God on high.

Ezekiel 18:7
He does not oppress anyone, but returns what he took in pledge for a loan. He does not commit robbery but gives his food to the hungry and provides clothing for the naked.

Deuteronomy 15:1-5,
At the end of every seven years you must cancel debts. This is how it is to be done: Every creditor shall cancel any loan they have made to a fellow Israelite. They shall not require payment from anyone among their own people, because the Lord’s time for canceling debts has been proclaimed. You may require payment from a foreigner, but you must cancel any debt your fellow Israelite owes you. However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the Lord your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the Lord your God and are careful to follow all these commands I am giving you today. If anyone is poor among your fellow Israelites in any of the towns of the land the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hardhearted or tightfisted toward them. Rather, be openhanded and freely lend them whatever they need. 9Be careful not to harbor this wicked thought: “The seventh year, the year for canceling debts, is near,” so that you do not show ill will toward the needy among your fellow Israelites and give them nothing. They may then appeal to the Lord against you, and you will be found guilty of sin. Give generously to them and do so without a grudging heart; then because of this the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in everything you put your hand to. There will always be poor people in the land. Therefore I command you to be openhanded toward your fellow Israelites who are poor and needy in your land.

Matthew 6:24
No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.

Proverbs 31:9
Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.

James 5:1-6
Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming on you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered the innocent one, who was not opposing you.

Leviticus 25: 35-38
‘If any of your fellow Israelites become poor and are unable to support themselves among you, help them as you would a foreigner and stranger, so they can continue to live among you. Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit. I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.’

Proverbs 28: 3-28
A ruler[a] who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops. // Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them. // Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully. // Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse. // A discerning son heeds instruction,
but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father. // Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor. // If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable. // Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance. // The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are. // When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding. // Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy. // Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble. // Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people. // A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.// Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back. // The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit. // Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty. // A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished. // To show partiality is not good—yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread. // The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them. // Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue. // Whoever robs their father or mother and says, “It’s not wrong,” is partner to one who destroys. // The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper. // Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe. // Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses. // When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.

Hypocrisy and Inaction

It is true, as you’ve probably thought by now, that “all have sinned all fall short of the glory of God.” Romans 3:24. The Bible goes through great lengths to remind the reader that they cannot achieve perfection. But God nevertheless insists that you try. Many lean on Romans for comfort to believe that, no matter what they do, they are still in good standing with the Lord. But that is not so. Paul tells the Romans that they do not have to achieve perfection, but neither he nor any other disciple even implies that a Christian is absolved of the duty to follow God’s instruction. Let’s take stock of what the times the Bible speaks on the importance of acting in accordance to one’s purported belief in God. First, let’s turn to the famous parable of the house on the rock. In this story, Jesus Himself instructs that one must not only believe his teachings, but also enact them:

“Why do you call me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do what I tell you? Everyone who comes to me and hears my words and does them, I will show you what he is like: he is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when a flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built. But the one who hears and does not do them is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. When the stream broke against it, immediately it fell, and the ruin of that house was great.” Luke 6:46-49

You are not absolved of your Christian responsibilities because you know your soul is saved. In fact, resting upon salvation to justify laziness in enacting the Lord’s will demonstrates that your soul is not in fact saved. Consider the words of Jesus himself and his followers:

Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

what good is it, my brothers, if someone claims to have faith, but has no deeds? Can such faith save him?” James 2:14.

“They profess to know God, but in works they deny Him, being abominable, disobedient, and disqualified for every good work.” Titus 1:16

“If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.” 1 John 4:20

“Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.” 1 Peter 2:16

“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.” 1 John 1:6

“For the fool speaks folly, and his heart is busy with iniquity, to practice ungodliness, to utter error concerning the Lord, to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied, and to deprive the thirsty of drink.” Isaiah 32:6

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” James 1:22

“Behold, you trust in deceptive words to no avail. Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, make offerings to Baal, and go after other gods that you have not known, and then come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, ‘We are delivered!’—only to go on doing all these abominations?” Jeremiah 7:8-10

If Not Now, When?

Why should we accept without question the options that have been given to us?

From tiktokers to prominent liberals, people with any kind of message platform are insisting that everyone makes concessions and votes for the lesser evil of Vice President Biden in November. This is not a new election strategy for the Democratic Party.

Let’s assume, for the sake of argument, that Biden wins the Presidency in November. Given so many people are using their platforms to insist we make concessions this one time to avoid the disastrous effects of a continued Trump administration, they should insist on either pushing Biden left in in 2024 or primarying him against an actually palatable candidate. Does anyone truly believe that the same “lesser evil” argument won’t be made in 2024? That, regardless of whatever Republican gets their party’s nomination, they won’t be considered the greater evil again, regardless of whether the democrats actually change anything about their candidate or their platform?

The reality is that, to liberals, Democrats of any variety will always be the lesser evil to Republicans of any variety. So, whatever the Democrats do, liberals will always, always insist we make concessions this time, to give them a chance to make the changes they will never really make because they know this simple truth: they don’t need to.

For decades, Democrats have promised meaningful change in environmental policy, immigration, equal protection of black, hispanic, and LGBT+ Americans, foreign intervention, and far more, if only you vote for the compromise this time. This one last time.

We want to believe that the Democrats will make good on their promise. They’re supposed to be the good guys, and Republicans the bad guys! But the reality is that they are but different faces of the same ugly beast. A plutocratic class of over represented, powerful people who are unconcerned with the desires of the mere rabble, and bent on maintaining the status quo at any cost.

Every single year is the last year we will need to hold off on meaningful change. I don’t expect you to take my word for it. Below, find samples of the coverage of presidential elections, tracing back further and further as I find time to update:

2016

2012

2008

2004

2000

1996

1992


2016

Voters say this is the ultimate ‘lesser of two evils’ election

They don’t like either options for President: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump. Many dub this presidential election the ultimate choice between “the lesser of two evils.”

That exact phrase — “lesser of two evils” — was repeated over and over again when voters talked to CNNMoney as part of a tour in September in the swing states of Florida and Ohio. And that was before the vicious second debate and the release of the bombshell 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape.

“Honestly, I feel like this election is finding the lesser of two evils,” said Michelle, who works in financial services and lives in the key swing area of Tampa, Florida. “I think there’s concern on both sides.”

Michelle, who is white, didn’t want to give her last name. She is leaning toward Trump because she’s fed up with Washington. The refrain came up up with voters leaning toward Clinton and even those who remain undecided.

“You have to choose the least of the two evils,” said Margaret DeBellottee-Torres, an African-American job coach in Tampa, Florida, who just shook her head when asked about the election. “I’m looking at Hillary. I think of the two candidates that she’s the less of the two evils.”

By Heather Long. (October 13, 2016: 9:20 AM ET). Voters say this is the ultimate ‘lesser of two evils’ election. CNN Business. Retrieved from: https://money.cnn.com/2016/09/25/news/economy/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-lesser-of-two-evils/

Voters Choosing Among ‘Lesser of Two Evils,’ Survey Finds

“I want this election to be about something, not against somebody,” Clinton said to a crowd of 2,000 at an outdoor park where Trump supporters protested across the street.

Pew study on voter preferences last week reported findings that highlight the discord in the election cycle, saying that the main factor in choosing a candidate was a dislike for their opponent.

According to the study, 33 percent of Trump supporters and 32 percent of Clinton voters attributed their choice in candidate to an opposition for the other candidate, winning out over all other attributes, like “political outsider” status, policy position, experience and temperament. The margin of error was plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Both campaigns have contributed to and been influenced by this trend, increasingly dedicating their rallies to criticizing each other.

Pew reported an overall negative perspective of the campaign this year among voters, with majorities of Americans saying they are “frustrated” and “disgusted” with the campaign.

Resounding support for both candidates is lacking from this election, according to Pew. Only 12 percent of those surveyed said they would be excited if Clinton won, and only 11 percent for Trump.

In her visit to Iowa, Clinton sought to appeal to voters who are on the fence, while Trump’s New Hampshire rally today sought instead to hold onto his current base.

Some 62 percent of Trump supporters and 50 percent of Clinton supporters acknowledged various downsides to their chosen candidates, with some offering harsh criticisms.

The study surveyed 4,538 randomly selected U.S. adult respondents, including 3,941 registered voters who participated in the survey via web survey or mail.

By MELINA DELKIC. (September 29, 2016, 6:51 PM). Voters Choosing Among ‘Lesser of Two Evils,’ Survey Finds. ABC News. Retrieved from: https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/voters-choosing-lesser-evils-survey-finds/story?id=42460153

2012

Nader: Obama’s a ‘war criminal’

It’s no surprise that Ralph Nader isn’t a fan of former President George W. Bush. After all, the longtime activist ran against him in both 2000 and 2004. But Nader’s even less a fan of President Barack Obama, if only because he thinks Obama was capable of so much more.

On issues related to the military and foreign policy, Obama’s worse than Bush, “in the sense that he’s more aggressive, more illegal worldwide,” Nader told POLITICO, going so far as to call Obama a “war criminal.”

“He’s gone beyond George W. Bush in drones, for example. He thinks the world is his plate, that national sovereignties mean nothing, drones can go anywhere. They can kill anybody that he suspects and every Tuesday he makes the call on who lives and who dies, supposed suspects in places like Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is a war crime and he ought to be held to account.”

Nader called Obama “below average because he raised expectation levels. What expectation level did George W. Bush raise?… He’s below average because he’s above average in his intellect and his knowledge of legality, which is violating with abandon.”

“I don’t know whether George W. Bush ever read the Constitution,” said Nader. “This man taught the Constitution, and this is what we got.”

Nader gave Obama this much: He’s the lesser of two evils when compared to GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

By PATRICK GAVIN. (09/25/2012 12:56 PM). Nader: Obama’s a ‘war criminal’. Politico. Retrieved from https://www.politico.com/story/2012/09/nader-obamas-a-war-criminal-081649

2008

To be entirely honest, I was hard-pressed to find “lesser evil” capitulations to then-Senator Barack Obama in 2008. This race was the most hopeful presidential election cycle in U.S. history, at least as far back as I’ve gone here. Obama campaigned on meaningful, progressive change, and at that time inspired a generation of young voters who thought the future might actually be better than it seemed. Obviously, that didn’t go well. President Obama quietly backed out of many of his progressive promises, and expanded unilateral foreign military intervention through drone strikes (often resulting in innocent casualties) to levels that were unthinkable before his election.

2004

Voting for lesser of two evils may prove necessary

Instructions to peace cherishers on how to vote for John Kerry and John Edwards:

Pinch nose firmly at nostrils.

Hold breath or breathe through mouth.

Pull lever.

Utter prayer for forgiveness.

For those of us who opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq and consider the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war utterly immoral and insane, John Kerry’s selection of John Edwards as his running mate stinks. So will voting for the pair come November.

In battleground states (those that could go either way, such as Florida, California, Illinois, Ohio, and Pennsylvania) that’s the repugnant chore awaiting us. We can’t risk going third-party, can’t afford to help return a commander-in-chief to office who still believes he was right to start a war on false pretenses, absent an imminent threat, and when United Nations inspections appeared to be working. They were working, as the subsequent unfettered and fruitless searches for Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction have proven.

But if Bush has demonstrated he believes that the problem of violence is best solved with more violence, what are we getting with these two Johns (Kerry and Edwards)? A lot less than most people, Democrats especially, are willing to recognize.

Back in February I spent all of one Saturday at the government offices of Niles Township in southwest Michigan, just across the Indiana state line. They were being used that day as a polling place for the Michigan caucus, set up similar to a primary. I was there urging people to vote for Howard Dean, one of the few Democrats openly critical of invading Iraq, before, during and after the operation.

Another Dean volunteer and I took turns sitting at a little table we set up just outside the polling room. We’d offer poll-goers information on Dean’s stances and accomplishments, along with cookies. A couple of supporters of Wesley Clark, also an opponent of the war, handed out miniature Clark bars.

As the poll-goers trooped in, several indicated they were backing the front-runner, Kerry. Some said Edwards. Inwardly I shook my head in discouragement.

Then I got an idea. With the consent of my competitors in the hallway (who included a mother and her son stumping for Dennis Kucinich), I made up a little sign and hung it from the front of the cookie table. It read “Don’t vote for Kerry or Edwards. Ask us why.”

Few asked. To the ones who did, I said, “Were you opposed to the war in Iraq?”

Yes, they said.

“How about Bush’s tax cuts for the country’s wealthiest people?”

Again, yes.

“The Patriot Act?”

Definitely.

“Do you know that Kerry and Edwards both voted in favor of all those measures? And that Edwards was a co-author of the Patriot Act?”

No one knew.

“So why would any Democrat want to reward them with the nomination?”

I’m still wondering. Most likely the majority voting in the primaries perceived Kerry as the most conventional candidate and therefore the safest, best bet to beat Bush.

I know my bringing up Kerry’s and Edwards’ persistent past backing of President Bush will be considered treasonous by many progressives. Democrats of all stripes are rallying around the presumptive ticket to give it all the bump they can in the polls. But should they? The presumptive nominees’ voting records say that on most issues they were either in agreement with the president’s legislative agenda or extremely gullible.

Even now, when 82 percent of Democrats surveyed say the Iraq War was a mistake, Kerry refuses to express regret over giving President Bush the go-ahead. His forces succeeded in keeping a plank out of the party’s platform condemning the war. And in a Kerry commercial that began airing July 7 he says that to win the war on terror we need to “find and get the terrorists before they get us.” These are not the words of someone morally outraged by the notion of pre-emptive war.

Some months back a friend of mine, looking ahead to the likely Bush-Kerry matchup and the “lesser-of-two-evils” choice it would present, remarked, “You know what you get when you choose the lesser of two evils?”

“What?” I said.

Evil.”

It’s not that I think John Kerry or George Bush is evil. The president thinks he’s doing God’s work. (What would Jesus do when faced with a terrorist threat? Capture or kill all suspects and possible sympathizers before they can get the jump on you, of course.) Kerry is doing what he thinks it takes to win, which in politics often means spouting generalities and standing firm as a tumbleweed.

My suggestion to those who see the legitimacy of the Iraq War as the most important issue in this election is to use your vote, where practical, to signal your disgust with the 100 percent pro-war slates put forward by the two controlling parties. In battleground states, vote Kerry and Edwards and hope they grow consciences and spines. In states where the outcome is a foregone conclusion, like Texas, Massachusetts and probably Indiana, do as Green Party presidential nominee David Cobb suggests and “invest in change.” Cast your ballot for a third-party — any third-party — candidate or write-in who actually condemned the Iraq War and Bush doctrine.

It won’t help re-elect President Bush and it won’t offend your senses.

By ED COHEN. (July 21, 2004 Wednesday). Voting for lesser of two evils may prove necessary. South Bend Tribune (Indiana). Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:4CYV-M9M0-00W3-D0XM-00000-00&context=1516831.

2000

Vice president is lesser of two evils — with experience

Despite pundits that charge this year’s presidential candidates really aren’t all that different — two centrist products of the American elite — voters today have two distinct choices: Keep the good times rolling by electing a well-schooled, if not a bit annoying know-it-all, or take a risk on an inexperienced baffoon.

Certainly, this choice might be made by selecting the lesser of two evils.

That’s fine by us.

. . .

Because although Al Gore, the Democratic presidential candidate, can come across as smug, stoic and arrogant, his two decades of public service and expert grasp of public policy make him the best man — lesser of two evils, or not — for the job.

Republican George W. Bush, this perennial fraternity boy, has parlayed one of the great family names in U.S. politics into a pseudo-serious presidential bid.

. . .

And don’t be fooled by Ralph Nader-supporting Green Party followers.

While Nader has raised significant issues in the campaign — mainly decrying big-business influence — he won’t attract enough votes to do anything besides detract from Gore’s base of liberal followers.

Staff Editorial, Daily Nebraskan. (November 7, 2000). Vice president is lesser of two evils — with experience. University Wire. Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:41KX-FDX0-00K4-108D-00000-00&context=1516831.

Some Black Voters View Gore as the Lesser of Two Evils; Concerns Go Unaddressed, They Say

“Well, Gore’s better than Bush,” said Evans, 64. “But he’s no Bill Clinton. That’s for sure. If you gave us a chance, most of us would vote for Clinton for a third term. This is going to be kind of like voting for the lesser of two evils.”

The phrase “lesser of two evils” was the common denominator in the interviews. Is the seeming ambivalence of politically aware, middle-class people like Evans and Banks a bad sign for Gore? If they are barely motivated to vote, what about their poorer, less politically aware neighbors in the sprawling, poor to working-class communities south and west of downtown Chicago?

. . .

While only one person said she planned to vote for Bush (a few declined to answer or said they were still undecided), several said they would vote for Gore for no other reason than that they could not stand Bush.

. . .

A couple of people in Chicago said the message they were getting from Democratic leaders was not so much that Gore was great on the issues but that Bush was horrible and that a vote for Green Party candidate Ralph Nadar was tantamount to a vote for Bush.

Terry M. Neal , Washington Post Staff Writer. (October 29, 2000, Sunday, Final Edition). Some Black Voters View Gore as the Lesser of Two Evils; Concerns Go Unaddressed, They Say. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:41HX-RHS0-00RP-M421-00000-00&context=1516831.

THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE POLL;
In Final Days, Voters Still Wrestle With Doubts on Bush and Gore

Even after absorbing three debates and months of campaigning, American voters are thoroughly ambivalent about their choices for president, still vexed by doubts about Vice President Al Gore’s sincerity and Gov. George W. Bush’s preparedness for the White House, the latest New York Times/CBS News Poll shows.

. . .

In follow-up interviews yesterday, many poll respondents expressed misgivings even about candidates they intend to support.

“This is a tough vote this time,” said John Ryan, 61, a high school teacher from Beverly, Mass. “The parties have stuck these two candidates in our faces and you have to take the lesser of two evils.”

Although Mr. Ryan is a Democrat who plans to vote for Mr. Gore, he groused: “Gore looks like somebody molded out of clay. He’s not warm or genuine. Bush might be a friendlier guy and easier to be with, but he either runs out of thoughts or runs out of ways to express them when he’s asked a question.”

Richard Koch, 83, a part-time accountant in Milwaukee, said he was voting for Mr. Bush. But he, too, is not satisfied with the choices.

“My uneasiness comes mostly from the fact that he is not world-wise politically,” Mr. Koch said of Mr. Bush. “This includes foreign policy and basic economics, among other things. He doesn’t have the background in these things and hasn’t indicated that he really knows what he’s talking about. The reason I would vote for him is that I don’t think much of Gore. He changes his positions to temper the moment.”

Indeed, a thread throughout the poll is that support for Mr. Bush and Mr. Gore seems halfhearted, with 4 in 10 of each man’s own supporters saying they had reservations about their candidate. More of Mr. Bush’s backers expressed enthusiasm than did Mr. Gore’s; about half for Mr. Bush and about 4 in 10 for the vice president.

. . .

Echoing many other respondents, Melvin Greene, 42, a physical therapist from Brunswick, Ga., said: “I’m planning on voting for Al Gore because basically I think he is the lesser of two evils. George Bush seems to cater to the wealthy.”

By RICHARD L. BERKE and JANET ELDER , By RICHARD L. BERKE and JANET ELDER . (October 23, 2000, Monday, Late Edition – Final). THE 2000 CAMPAIGN: THE POLL; In Final Days, Voters Still Wrestle With Doubts on Bush and Gore. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:41GM-8X50-00MH-F3PD-00000-00&context=1516831.

1996

Voter says Clinton “lesser of two evils

Barbara McKeehen thinks President Clinton is “completely amoral and a con man” – but she plans to vote for him anyway.

He’s the lesser of two evils,” said McKeehen, 50, a nurse practitioner.

. . .

McKeehen wishes she had a better choice for president.

She believes Dole would align himself with House Speaker Newt Gingrich, a man she calls dangerous. Together, she believes the Republican team would chip away at programs that help the disadvantaged.

“I feel (Dole) is ultra-conservative and too old,” she said.

Clinton doesn’t impress her either.

“When he ran the first time, I laughed at him … with all his scandals,” she said. “The girls, the crap about, “I didn’t inhale.’ I was born at night but not last night.”

SALLY KESTIN; of The Tampa Tribune. (October 16, 1996, Wednesday,). Voter says Clinton “lesser of two evils’. The Tampa Tribune (Florida). Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3SD5-S4W0-0094-00DN-00000-00&context=1516831.

POLITICS: THE VOTERS;
For Philadelphia Blacks, Clinton Is ‘the Lesser of Two Evils

Camille Edwards, a 27-year-old social worker, said she was especially upset with Mr. Clinton for signing the welfare legislation because it will lead to more crime. “People will be robbing left and right just to eat,” she said. “Nobody is going to allow their children to starve.” Nevertheless, she said, she would vote for Mr. Clinton hoping he “will act more like a Democrat” in a second term.

“I don’t think Clinton is the black man’s friend by any means,” Ms. Edwards said as she shopped along Germantown Avenue with her friend, Vanessa Walker, a 31-year-old nurse’s aid. “He’s kind of like Abe Lincoln who freed the slaves almost by accident.”

Ms. Walker was much more enthusiastic about the President. “Clinton. Clinton. Clinton,” she said. “A lot of people are registering to vote because if Bob Dole gets in, we are going to catch hell.”

Still, most of the voters interviewed said they thought that the welfare system needed reform, and that too many people had turned welfare into “a way of life.” But although most had jobs, from college professors to a laundromat manager, all expressed concern for the millions of Americans who were homeless and hungry, and the millions more who were just slightly better off.

. . .

Philbert Young, 38, who owns a landscaping business, agreed with Mr. Clinton’s decision to sign the welfare legislation “because a lot of people want to make welfare a way of life.” But he said he would vote for the President holding his nose.

“Politicians are all talk,” he said.

Anthony Monteiro, a professor of sociology at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy and Science, said in a telephone interview that he is tired of voting for the lesser of two evils.

Mr. Monteiro said he will not vote for President this year but will vote in his Congressional race. He said he has been leery of Mr. Clinton for years because of the President’s rightward shifts. But it was Mr. Clinton‘s signing of the welfare legislation “that pushed me over the edge.”

“That bill will throw one million children into poverty,” he said, his voice raising on the other end of the telephone. “Clinton has literally become a Reagan Democrat. And Dole is a Reagan Republican. I don’t think there is a lesser of two evils in this race. There’s just evil.

For Linn Washington Jr., a journalism professor at Temple University, the choice between Mr. Clinton and Mr. Dole boils down to which man “am I going to oppose.”

“I’m going to oppose the conservative movement in the country as symbolized by Bob Dole,” Mr. Washington said. “Don’t get me wrong, Clinton has not excited me at all, either.”

By DON TERRY  , By DON TERRY  . (October 5, 1996, Saturday, Late Edition – Final). POLITICS: THE VOTERS; For Philadelphia Blacks, Clinton Is ‘the Lesser of Two Evils’. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3S89-3H40-0005-G3JX-00000-00&context=1516831.

LESSER OF TWO EVILS STILL HAPPENS TO BE EVIL

For the best single analysis of the so-called ”contest” between Bill Clinton and Bob Dole, I defer to the editorial writers at the Washington Post, who wrote this week: ”The choice for president this year is pretty bleak. There are days of the week when the strongest single argument that can be made for either candidate is that he’s not the other.”

. . .

Polls suggest that the vast majority of Americans are dissatisfied with the Clinton-Dole choice, and why shouldn’t they be? Clinton’s presidency has been hapless at best, corrupt at worst and disappointing even to his most ardent supporters; Dole’s challenge has been a uniquely pathetic exercise in futility, marred by disparate changes of direction and a harshness that demeans the Republican challenger as much as it does the Democratic incumbent.

Anyone who watched the joint appearances by the two candidates had to notice how real debate was scrupulously avoided by a pair of politicians who actually agree on most issues — including NAFTA, GATT, welfare reform, the death penalty, deficit reduction, and the need for a bipartisan commission to reform the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

The point of this recounting of the flaws that the major-party presidential candidates so openly display is not to discourage anyone from tossing a vote in either of their directions. Most Americans who vote Tuesday will do just that, and I have too much respect for democracy to criticize anyone for sincerely exercising their right to vote for the candidate of their choice — however lame he may be.

But to those who are disgusted with the lesser-of-two-evilism that has infected this year’s campaign for the post once held by Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt, I would offer a twist on Bob Dole’s failed attempt to speak to America’s youth: ”Just don’t do it.”

. . .

Author Studs Terkel told me a few weeks back that he’s considering a vote for Nader. Disgusted with Clinton’s signing of the welfare reform bill, Terkel says he can’t stomach the nominee of the Democratic Party he has traditionally backed.

Besides, he says, at age 84, this could be his last vote. ”I’ve voted for too many compromise candidates,” he says. ”I figure I might as well go out voting for somebody I want.”

John Nichols. (October 31, 1996, Thursday,). LESSER OF TWO EVILS STILL HAPPENS TO BE EVIL. Capital Times (Madison, WI.). Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3SD5-BM90-0094-41KT-00000-00&context=1516831.

Gay Rights Victory Is Not Without Hitches;
Vote No Evil

To the Editor:

Your May 23 front-page article on President Clinton’s declaration that he would sign the “defense of marriage” act quotes his aide George Stephanopoulos as saying, “It’s wrong for people to use this issue to demonize gays and lesbians.”

The President is participating in the martyrdom of gay men and lesbians, and virtually assuring his own demonization. He banks on the assumption that we have no choice but to support him as the lesser of two evils. But the lesser of two evils is still evil, and I for one may vote for Santa Claus.

CHAN CASEY
New York, May 23, 1996

(May 27, 1996, Monday, Late Edition – Final). Gay Rights Victory Is Not Without Hitches; Vote No Evil. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3S89-4NY0-0005-G48T-00000-00&context=1516831.

[Note: the Defense of Marriage Act, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, defined marriage as the union between a man and a woman, and allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted by other states.]

How 3 Young Voters See the Election and the Choices

April Smith, 21
‘Clinton Is the Lesser Of Two Evils’

Ms. Smith said that she believed that this year’s Republican candidates were spouting platitudes, and that she would vote for Mr. Clinton.

Yet she supports the Republican push for lower taxes and smaller Government and opposes abortion.

But Ms. Smith, like Mr. Rogers, is deeply concerned about education cuts. Last year, at the end of her sophomore year at the University of North Texas at Denton, she dropped out because she did not have money for the $2,400-a-year tuition, despite holding down two part-time jobs.

She now works 40 hours a week as a saleswoman in Gordon’s jewelry store at the Denton mall and manages to save $100 a month. She can only go back to college, she said, if she gets financial aid.

“The Republicans seem to be more for the upper class instead of the poor or the elderly,” Ms. Smith said. “Clinton is the lesser of two evils.”

Ms. Smith also said she was worried about the environment. “I plan on having kids,” she said. “Will there be a planet?”

Health care is another issue that concerns Ms. Smith, who said she had a strict Southern Baptist upbringing in Naples, Tex. Her parents helped her financially the first year in college, but now she is independent of them.

Her health insurance has a $500 deductible, and she fears that if she had an accident or became sick, her dreams of going to college could be put back years or wiped out.
 
Carlos Hernandez, 24
‘Liberal Leaning,’ But Feeling Fed Up

With a degree in international affairs from Georgetown University, Mr. Hernandez is the associate director of the National Hispanic Institute, a nonprofit organization in Maxwell, Tex., that conducts leadership training programs for Hispanic youths. He said he was just as passionate in his beliefs as those under 30 were in the 1960’s.

He earns in the $20,000 range, he said. To save money and pay off a college debt of $15,000, he has moved in with his sister. He said he did not want to be like his parents whose savings were wiped out when they sent him to college.

Mr. Hernandez, a first-generation Mexican-American, said that he was “liberal leaning” but hated being labeled and was fed up with politicians. Nonetheless, he has voted every year and will this time, he said, probably for President Clinton because the Democratic agenda was closest to his concerns.

Still, he said he was disappointed with the President’s performance on health care and welfare. And he added that Gen. Colin L. Powell would have been an attractive option.

Mr. Hernandez’s father died of a heart attack at 48 so he said he worried about his own health and benefits. He said that he wanted to see his siblings and relatives go to college but that Republican cuts in education might make that dream impossible. The budget deficit gnaws at him, he said.

“I think we’re mortgaging our future,” he said in an interview at a restaurant in Austin. “As a young responsible citizen of this country, I’m responsible for balancing my checkbook. It’s very difficult to run a government or a business if 40 percent of your payments are debt payments.”

He does not believe the Government is responsible for providing him with a job but he believes it should provide training for those who do not have the chance for an education.

Like many other young people, Mr. Hernandez said his philosophy and beliefs were gleaned from his parents’ experiences. His mother, a migrant cotton picker, was the first in her family to put herself through college.

And his father left Mexico to grow up in the projects of Brownsville, Tex., where he would break into people’s houses to steal cans of tuna. The church changed his father’s life and he put himself through college and earned a degree in electrical engineering.

“I’m just a Mexican-American concerned about where my community is going,” Mr. Hernandez said.
 
Kevin Rogers, 23
10 Years Ago, ‘A Common Goal’

Mr. Rogers has taken a year off from studying philosophy and political science at the University of Central Arkansas in Conway to work full time at the college bookstore. Next fall he plans to transfer to a bigger college in California, he said. The youngest of six children from a Southern Baptist family in Hot Springs, Ark., he and a brother are the only ones to have gone to college.

“I could leave college and go home and live a comfortable life,” he said. “But that’s a dead end.”

Mr. Rogers talked of friends who are struggling to make ends meet in college only to return to their hometowns to work low-paid jobs. And he said he was worried about cuts in education threatened by the Republicans and wanted better benefits for college students. At the same time, he said he supported downsizing of the Federal government.

Like many in his age group, he finds himself thinking conservative on economic questions, and more liberal on social issues.

“I think 10 years ago, we as a generation had more of a common goal to fight over,” he said. “Now there are so many stands to be had. It really divides up a generation.”

By DONATELLA LORCH . (March 30, 1996, Saturday, Late Edition – Final). How 3 Young Voters See the Election and the Choices. The New York Times. Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3S89-56W0-0005-G0KP-00000-00&context=1516831.

BORED VOTERS VIEW ELECTION AS ‘EVIL OF TWO LESSERS’

ERIE, Pa. – Tony DiEugenio would rather talk about Harry Truman and Ronald Reagan than Bill Clinton and Bob Dole. “There’s no one in politics to make you proud anymore” is his lament.

A few doors down is a waitress who gives her name as Lisa. She refuses to give her last name and is piqued, swatting away bees in the restaurant’s courtyard.

“I hate Clinton. He doesn’t know how to tell the truth,” the 35-year-old single mother says as the lunchtime crowd dwindles. “But what is my choice? I’m not voting for Perot again. Bob Dole? Come on. Too old.

And so it goes, not only here in Erie, but in town after town during a week spent visiting four industrial states critical in presidential elections: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Missouri and Ohio.

In five weeks, voters will pick the last president of the 20th century, and the man who will sit in the Oval Office at the dawn of the 21st. Yet, if dozens of random interviews this past week are any guide, the voters are a largely disinterested, often frustrated and sometimes grumpy lot, quick to complain about the quality of their choices and the tone of this year’s campaign, if they have paid any attention to it.

“Who cares?” said DiEugenio, rolling his eyes as he sewed a new sole on a loafer in his downtown Erie shop.

Four years ago, Clinton was a fresh face and Ross Perot a miniphenomenon as voters tired of a sluggish economy turned out in record numbers and denied President Bush a second term. “I remember it being exciting,” said Jenny Hatcher, an insurance company secretary in suburban St. Louis.

Now 21, Hatcher can vote in her first presidential election. But she hasn’t registered. “I guess I should because I don’t like Clinton,” she said. “I’m just not into it. None of them excite me.”

Weak participation in this year’s primaries, and the disinterest voiced in voter interviews and dozens of state and national polls, has many campaign operatives and analysts predicting a low turnout.

“Don’t any of them have anything positive to say?” asks Kim Rickard, a bank worker in the St. Louis suburb of Clayton, Mo.

Like many 1992 Clinton backers, she said she was likely to support him again. But she seemed resigned to doing so, not enthusiastic about it. Like Lisa in Erie and Adele Rubenstein in Royal Oak, Mich., Rickard is full of doubts about Clinton but not convinced Dole is an acceptable alternative.

The lesser of two evils still seems to be Clinton,” said Rubenstein, who manages a shoe store. She calls Dole’s plan to cut taxes by 15 percent unrealistic and winces when talking about Clinton’s morals.

Her views are a snapshot of a conflicted electorate.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean that Dole can catch up easily, but Clinton’s support is not deep,” said GOP pollster Neil Newhouse.

The latest NBC-Wall Street Journal poll found that Dole had a 2-to-1 advantage over Clinton when voters were asked which candidate was more honest, and Dole had a 30-point edge when voters were asked which candidate has higher ethical and moral values. Dole led handily as well when voters were asked which candidate stuck by his beliefs. Yet voters believed by 46 percent to 39 percent that Dole is a bigger risk.

“Clinton wins the warm and personal elements. Dole wins the professional elements,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart. “I think Dole has elements that people respect, but he is having trouble turning that into votes.”

JOHN KING AP Political Writer. (September 29, 1996, Sunday,). BORED VOTERS VIEW ELECTION AS ‘EVIL OF TWO LESSERS’. South Bend Tribune (Indiana). Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3V5K-84B0-00JN-X0Y0-00000-00&context=1516831.

1992

On The Day the People Speak Their Piece


Child psychologist John Sikorski and his wife, Susan Mitchell, voted in a mausoleum, the San Francisco Columbarium, a domed building that shelves the cremated remains of 15,000 people in urns and boxes.

“This,” said Sikorski, “is an appropriate place for this election.”

He chose Clinton, “lesser of three evils.”

“I love voting here,” his wife said.
 
Cheryl Morris, 34, a lifelong Republican, went to the polls in Jacksonville, Fla., intending to vote for Perot. There she changed her mind; what if Clinton were to win?

She would have stuck to her guns if Perot had had a chance, “but I didn’t want to throw my vote away,” she said.

As for Clinton: “A snake in the grass,” said this Bush voter.
 
Perot didn’t get a vote from Don Moser, either. He’s a professor at the University of Pittsburgh who went for Clinton, but appreciated Perot. Perot forced the others to talk about issues they otherwise would duck, especially the deficit, he said. “He added to the process.”
 
The breeze wrapped the American and Texas flags around the flagpole at the J.W. Ray Elementary School, polling place for Precinct 3542 in a poor, largely black neighborhood in Dallas.

Clyde Counter, 75, a native of Oklahoma, voted there, for Clinton. He said he has voted in every election since he was able. “I haven’t missed, haven’t missed,” he said.

Iraq and Iran-Contra turned him against Bush, who “pumped Saddam up” and who must have known more than he admits about arms-for-hostages. “He was the vice president and the vice president knows what the president knows,” he said.
 
In Harpers Ferry, a pregnant voter, Deborah Warshaw, stood beside her husband, John Stokes. She voted for Clinton because of two issues – abortion and the environment.

“I don’t care if we’re poor,” she said. “But I do care about what happens to the environment around us.”

Poor? She’s a freelance architect with a graduate degree from the University of Virginia. Her husband works for an outfit that maintains the Appalachian Trail here.

“No,” she took it back. “Not poor. But low down in the middle class. We can buy food and pay off our student loans and pay for health insurance. Can’t buy a house. Can’t buy a car. Can’t buy furniture. I guess we’re not poor. I don’t know anything about economics. I know about the environment. I don’t want it ruined.

(November 3, 1992, Tuesday, AM cycle). On The Day the People Speak Their Piece. The Associated Press. Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3SJF-2YH0-005H-01BX-00000-00&context=1516831.

Blacks can’t let Clinton take votes for granted

Remember Rutherford B. Hayes?

Back in 1876, he was the Republican presidential candidate at a time when black voters clung to the GOP in much the same way we now blindly support Democrats. Hayes was a candidate of change.

During his campaign, he publicly promised to move the party away from its liberal roots while assuring black voters – the party’s most loyal constituency – that he’d protect their interests in the process.

Hayes was aided in his campaign by black politicians who put their loyalty to the Republican Party ahead of the interests of their people. They chose what for them was the lesser of two evils: a Republican moderate over Democrat Samuel Tildon, the candidate of the party that then stridently opposed civil rights.

Once in the White House, Hayes turned his back on blacks in favor of the white voters his campaign brought into the Republican fold, while virtually all of the political, social and economic gains made by blacks following the Civil War were wiped out.

Can it happen again? You’re damn right it can.

With the presidential election just a week away, black voters cling to Bill Clinton like barnacles to a ship. He, too, is a candidate of change.

What Clinton promises is to move the Democratic party away from its liberal roots. He actively courts the support of white voters who have been offended by the party’s embrace of civil rights, while assuring black voters that he’ll safeguard our interests.

And just as in 1876, black politicians justify their support of Clinton by saying he’s the lesser of two evils. But for me that’s not good enough.

With Clinton’s lead in the polls shrinking, now is the time for black leaders to find the courage to lead. They should go to the Arkansas governor and demand – that’s right, demand – that he publicly state his position on issues of importance to African-Americans.

They should say, ”Governor, it’s not enough that you say you want to put America back to work. We want to know specifically what you plan to do to reduce black unemployment, which for the past 40 years has been double that of whites?”

They should ask him what he plans to do, specifically, to reduce school dropout rates among blacks and Hispanics, and to increase standardized test scores among these two groups? What will he do about the discriminatory practices among mortgage lenders that exclude many black families from home ownership; or of banks which deny business loans to black entrepreneurs?

Bill Clinton says he supports affirmative action but not quotas. That’s like saying he favors sex but not intercourse. One doesn’t work very well without the other. The black leaders who now blindly back Clinton know this.

A few years ago, when a Republican-dominated Supreme Court ruled that the use of quotas by the city of Richmond, Va., in an affirmative action program designed to increase the number of minority-owned businesses getting local government contracts was unconstitutional, black leaders cried foul.

But when Clinton accepts affirmative action and rejects quotas – as the Supreme Court did – black leaders simply talk about the need for black voters to be pragmatic in order to put a Democrat in the White House.

But how do blacks gain by allowing Clinton to duck and dodge on the issues of importance to us, while he campaigns to win the votes of white-flight Democrats (those who stopped voting for Democratic presidential candidates after the party embraced the civil rights movement)?

Sure, re-electing Bush would be a national disaster, and giving Perot the keys to the Oval Office is tantamount to playing Russian Roulette with three bullets instead of one, but that’s no reason for black voters to give Clinton a free ride.

The lesson of history is clear.

If we allow our interests to be disengaged from this presidential campaign; if we permit our party’s candidate to run for the White House by running away from us, we court an even greater disaster than would result from the election of one of his opponents.

”Power,” Frederick Douglass once said, ”concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will.”

The time has come for black leaders to demand much of Bill Clinton.

DeWayne Wickham. (October 26, 1992, Monday, FINAL EDITION). Blacks can’t let Clinton take votes for granted. USA TODAY. Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3SKM-YGX0-005H-J3PH-00000-00&context=1516831.

Swing Voters Unsure of Clinton

While Clinton has tried to provide that inspiration to voters, most of whom  had never heard of him before last winter, Bush has been working overtime trying to plant doubts about the governor. He has called into question  Clinton’s character, experience and mettle and framed the campaign around the  issue of trust.

But if there is any prevailing mood in these centuries-old towns of  southwestem Ohio, where more students attend parochial than public schools and  where American flags are as common as pansies in front yards, it’s a lack of  enthusiasm for, and a lack of trust in, either of the candidates.

There are no bumper stickers, no signs, no campaign buttons or T-shirts. If  you had a nickel for every person who said they were voting for “the lesser  of two evils,” you probably could buy the Cincinnati Bengals football team.

One recent national poll showed 35 percent of the vote firmly committed to Clinton, 30 percent solidly behind Bush, and 35 percent either tilting one way or undecided.

Republican poll-taker Ed Goeas thinks that with the economy in such a  shambles, the only reason Clinton’s lead isn’t even greater among committed voters is that “he’s still largely undefined.”

And indeed, voters like Dave Carrell, a law enforcement officer in the  northern Kentucky town of Covington, speak of “taking a chance” on Clinton.

“I’m at a loss,” says the former Bush supporter. “Do I go for change  even though I’m not sure Clinton’s the man, or do I go with what I know and  let things be?”

(September 13, 1992, Sunday, City Edition). Swing voters unsure of Clinton. St. Petersburg Times (Florida). Retrieved from https://advance-lexis-com.proxy.uwec.edu/api/document?collection=news&id=urn:contentItem:3SJB-0HT0-000R-D1JN-00000-00&context=1516831.

Note the concerns from those making concessions and voting for the Democrat. In almost 30 years, they remain unaddressed in any meaningful way by the Democratic party, despite the concessions of unsatisfied voters. Every single time, the party has failed to meet the promises of “next year.” Every year is a concession to a party that is disinterested in meaningful change.