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tv   [untitled]    November 7, 2012 9:30pm-10:00pm EST

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hello and welcome to cross talk i'm peter lavelle america's political marathon has finally come to an end but was there really a choice to what degree was this campaign season only about money do republicans and democrats collude to control political discourse and what about the issue of voter suppression. to cross not the u.s. electorial system i'm joined by
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a week shapiro in richmond he is a senior fellow in constitutional studies at the cato institute and in philadelphia we crossed and in he is a writer and blogger for counter approach all right gentlemen crosstalk rules in effect that means you can jump in anytime you want ok lynn i'd like to go to you first in philadelphia how would you describe the selection here and how is it different from the election of two thousand and eight because we had citizens united in between time and i think you know where i'm going well in two thousand and eight there was a lot of optimism after that it was a bush there was a lot of hope specially among american progressives that change was coming and it hasn't really hasn't at all actually so this time is more measure of enthusiasm for obama and i'm surprised there's anything easy as a model and this is certainly not an endorsement of romney because what we've seen is a continuum of american policy especially american foreign policy so from bush to obama
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to whoever comes next whether romney or obama in the next four years obama would be remarkably the same in that we have more wars. kind of a carte blanche for the criminal banks and a kind of austerity the mess. for the common man so it doesn't really matter who wins. the major policy united states will not change whoever wins this time ok if i go to you and i to remind our viewers that americans as we record this program are still voting how do you see the difference between the two elections ok because it lifted for him policy we got another bush four years. well i'm not sure i think there are plenty of differences between what obama's done in terms of the tone he struck the attempt to have a reset with russia for example that's of interest to these years i think a big difference is that when obama was running four years ago he could project himself as being all things to all people hope and change just the anti bush and
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that was about it now he's been in office for four years and people can judge his record so it's it's hard to run on the same things and indeed if he is reelected we may know this when you're when you're watching this will be the first time in something like one hundred years where the the reelected president gets less of the popular vote and less electoral college votes than it has done in his first term ok but how would you describe the electoral system in the united states right now because we have suppressed voting we have all kinds of things going on with registration and but the americans say it's you know there's still the light on the hill to the beacon to the world how would you look at the democratic process in the u.s. now because there's so much big money there ok well the voting machines is also a problem we don't have a paper record of what's happened so in a sense the machine is going to pretty much say anything it wants. the end result can be produced i mean there are many problems with the elections in united states . the fact that two parties dominate usually get ninety eight percent of the votes
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there are no no third parties no viable third parties which is pre-processing this self in many countries you can easily have six or seven parties in parliament united states you know do we have two so-called independent. the green party cannot be. a state governor so the two parties dominate the system and they walk together because they split the senate and the house pretty much down the middle and this is very convenient because they can blame the other for the mess that they have creatively they have joined the created so you know basically we have a system that is a movable and the disappointment comes every four years. people with this foss hope that things will change next time but nothing really changes ok you need to do that democrats or republicans crowd everybody out for historical reasons in part we have two parties but also the for the what's called the first past the post system that
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is the largest plurality or majority elects a particular congressman also the campaign finance regulations that there are limits that each individual can donate if you had billionaires that were to donate unlimited amounts of money with disclosures to third parties to independents rather than run themselves you know ross perot is not a very good politician but if he had donated money to some good politicians either a libertarian socialist green whoever that had different ideas that might be a different way of doing things and also the fact that we have a presidential rather than a parliamentary system these sorts of structural institutional dynamics play a role in how this has become a two party system but i don't think that there is there is voter suppression or anything nefarious or evil going on in the system it's just certain historical precedent happens in many countries there's a mean
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a liberal party and they're in there and this is the way it plays out here any of evidence of you know not getting people on the voting rolls ok making it harder and harder for them to do that instead of making it easier in the name of voter fraud. well i mean you have to maintain fair and free elections and voter fraud is a problem dead people staying on the rolls and and things like that it's part of the orderly administration of elections to make sure that people are in history has become a lot easier in the last twenty years with a lot of different reforms you can now register to vote at the at the driver's license bureau for example some states you can register even the day of some states you know a week before so there are a lot of precautions and voter id for example which is the requirement that you present identification before you vote is supported by eighty two percent of the public according to a two thousand and ten poll so there are problems with registration and with keeping the rolls straight and things like that but it's certainly not
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a disenfranchisement that's not why there are low there's low voter turnout or anything like that ok gentleman like to introduce sure ok he's in charlottesville he's the press secretary for the progressive change campaign committee i thank you very much neal for being with us well you know i've been going around the table here how do you look at this election here is it more democratic less democratic or just to show hype well i mean listen i think that it's great to be here number one but number two i think it's it's not a question of whether it's more democratic or more republican i think what's going on right now is people are voting across the country at this moment and they're making a really clear decision between one party that wants to that thinks the economy grows from the top down and you know trickles all the way down to the bottom and another party that thinks that we can build this country and grow this economy from the middle out and i think voters are going to make a very clear decision today and vote for the party that wants to go the middle out not that's the president and the democrats you know there's been
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a lot of talk about how much difference there is between these two candidates and i can tell you from someone lives far away from the campaign they look pretty markedly similar. well from the outside in unless you're the only male amazingly amazingly plinlimmon let me stay with lingo headlee yeah that americans keep electing one war criminal after another you know they protest the wars for one afternoon they go down a street much to an afternoon and come election time de luxe another war criminal so on a more full from our standpoint is appalling what americans are doing and not a loser in the americas i hang on to is that there is a recovery to an economic recovery in process and i can tell you there is no recovery if you talk to any small businessman you know they tell you how bad it things are and unemployment figures fudge the inflation figures fudge so after this election as it becomes clear and clear that we don't have an economic recovery as more americans are suffering and they see a disconnect between what they suffering and what the media telling them how they
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should feel i think the anger and the frustration will grow and should there be any protests you know the government can just arrest you and even kill you if you deem an enemy to stay so the nasty side of this government will come out and the many americans who wake up to see exactly who is ruling them again you look like you disagree go ahead jump in. yeah i could not disagree more we've seen thirty two straight months of job growth in this country we have to remember where we came from four years ago we were losing eight hundred thousand jobs a month that it to go from that to thirty two straight months of job growth in this country is an unprecedented success the reality is we were in a we were in a hole far lower far deeper than any of us on this panel right now have ever lived through in our lifetimes so to suggest that we haven't moved forward that we haven't improved is just fundamentally ridiculous and first and foremost i don't
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even understand where he's coming off talking about killing protesters as someone who was there at occupy wall street last year was standing with the protesters and a number of situations over the last year because you're right we do have to hold the democrats accountable just as much as we hold the republicans accountable but it's absolutely patently absurd to talk about anything close nazi regime that's just not will kneel before we go to the break you don't you would you agree that civil liberties have been assaulted over the last four years what i would agree with is that we need to do more to improve civil liberties and actually strengthen the civil liberties in this country i agree that the obama administration has not done enough to protect the civil liberties of many people in this country but you know the reality is is when we compare it to the alternative and not the almighty we know that things are improving things are getting better much like they are in the economy all right gentlemen we're going to go to a quick break and out of that break we'll continue our discussion on america's democracy say are.
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you. still. want. download the official ati applications to cell phone choose a language stream quality and enjoy your favorites. t.v. is not required to watch on t.v. all you need is your mobile device to watch ati any time any. excuse me can i speak with you sir let me explain my son died when ronald reagan agree when you don't have to look for them my son isn't isn't in the arena i don't know what his coffee when he's trying to or you'll say are. you. sure in your
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country. if the countries i'm curious. includes the moon or in hope to help you find me. you find in so many old sins war and meet some snooze.
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claim anything. you want. welcome back to rostock on fuel about the mind you were talking about the electoral process in the united states. and you can . applaud. and if i can go to you that was some recent polling data says about seventy percent eighty percent of americans don't like the electoral college why don't they just change the system and you know anybody with five percent public opinion poll numbers can run for president and have two rounds and so everybody can say you know they can express their their preference because this whole concept i don't want to throw my vote away i mean why can't people be more creative because it looks like the democrats and the republicans really want to crowd everybody out and we have big money
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crowding people out why might why not make it more democratic. well the country isn't a demographer pure democracy it's a republic it's meant to check some of the excesses of pure democracy which after all is mob rule and you have different parts of the government checking each other the largest congress checking the president in the courts etc and indeed anybody can run for president you have different third parties that don't get i mean they would get the same percentage whether we had the electoral college or not that that's not part of that particular discussion i'm not sure that where that seventy or eighty percent percentage comes from but the electoral college simply is intended to have a president elected by all parts of the country and small states large states people from from different parts of the country if we got rid of it then everybody would simply be campaigning in the large cities l.a. new york chicago dallas etc where the largest concentrations of people have been so in hardened years and they just can't. really fix anything this campaign in seven
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states ok where you can be in on that kind of let your and those states and those states those those states change from election to election i mean twenty years ago california was a swing state and colorado was not i mean we we these things change over time and it'll be surprising twenty years from now which states are in play ok when you want to jump in there go ahead. before i go on i want to go back to the. thing about you know this country's history of killing protesters and strikers so it would be naive to think it can't happen again i live in a city of philadelphia which actually you know its own citizens that we do move protests so you know it would be very naive to think you cannot happen again but anyway as the electoral college they are not even. they can even vote to do a different candidate you know i mean they can they can declare they're going to vote for one candidate over another so that in itself is kind of problematic but
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like i say you know all these issues with voter suppression. and the way things are set up voting machines distract from the bigger problem which is. the whole election is a farce i think is a rig referendum we're in for this very corrupt and eternal war system so you know we have to talk about how to reform the entire election and one step forward is to boycott the election and then we can move forward because we can't vote for somebody who is a war criminal and then go and turn around and complain that he is a war criminal ok neal i can tell you want to jump in there go right ahead i know you disagree go ahead. i mean that's just i think the idea of encouraging people to not vote is fundamentally against the interests of the people that you're you're trying to advocate for and more importantly it's just not in fitting with what what voting is a civic responsibility in this country it's something we should expect of every
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single citizen and and of course everyone has the right to not vote but it's a bad choice you know you can choose to do that but why you after years of struggle after centuries of struggle would you say i'm going to throw away that choice and i'm going to make a decision not to vote that's just an absurd proposition listen if you want to change things work within the system to change it as far as the electoral college is concerned i'm all for moving towards a national popular vote let's make that happen and but let's make that happen by the processes that are in place i'm sure ilya would agree with me if folks are supportive of a national popular vote let's amend the constitution to do it we've got the structures to to create reform and we can go ahead and do it so you know i think going forward right now the system that we're in right now is one of the electoral college and i think you know the players in this system play by the rules of it so you know we'll see what happens on election day if you think that over they were these are the rules in the united states only three elections have broken if
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there's what's you know what i'm just saying you know if i go to italy i mean what do you think about the role of super pacs in this campaign ok super pacs huge amounts of money well if i can just finish off the if i could just finish off the last autumn if there's one thing that i agree with neal is that there are definitely certain differences between the parties i mean the first guest and force i can hear very well but it's sounds like something from the merger and off screen or something we we don't have socialist and fascists i mean there are centrist parties some are more you know involved in crony capitalism some want more government control of the economy and other. i want to stand for more of the free enterprise system and there's a clear choice that americans can make in that super pacs have arisen because of certain perversities in the system because there are restrictions on the what you can contribute to candidates and campaigns but no limits on what you can spend independently and what they really want honestly is and in the you really and so i
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that the solution really believe super pacs add is a positive to this electoral process really absolutely i think everybody everybody should be allowed to speak as much as they want independently and really i want there not to be limits on donations to candidates and campaigns so that would that would lessen some of the impact of the independent groups and candidates would speak more directly what do you think about super pacs is it just seems like it's all about and i don't know let me go to lynn because i know you disagree with me here lynn what do you think of super pacs corporations and big money how to influence elections is is obviously very corrupting but also the media we haven't even brought up you know the media here delimits what's acceptable to discuss and you know america is bombarded by so much propaganda they don't know how fosco the media is so it does that's another problem. you know just take for example i mean it is you don't have a representative democracy because the. politicians and an apology politicians
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routinely do. what they say they're not going to do and they go against the popular opinions for example most americans were against the iraq war that didn't matter most americans were against the bank bailout that didn't matter so you know the politicians do what they want to do and occasionally they do. they'll pinions their decisions coincide with the popular opinion but that's only by accident you know most of condé they are serving another interests the corporate interests the military banking interests and not the main on the street so in a sense we don't have a represent. democracy and i will insist on a boycott as a first step towards the mizen this government and then we can move on we can call a general strike. but until we can disrupt the system no real change can happen let me go ahead neil i know you want to say something go ahead well first of all i
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fundamentally disagree that we don't have a representative democracy because in fact what we're doing right now what what is happening across this country today is the implementation of representation represented in our democracy as people did in two thousand and six when they disagreed with the decision to go to war you know what they did they voted out the people in office that they disagreed with today is our day to represent ourselves and kick out the people that we disagree with and put in place the people that we do now as far as super pacs are concerned i think you know it's the idea that we are going to somehow create a system where free money is free flowing and anyone can give as much money as they want to any politician they want and any organization they want is just absurd i think we saw what that was like frankly in the watergate era and you know we decided to move beyond it now the fact is even before super pacs came in place and even before we had citizens united we had a corrupt system not corrupt as in you know peddling influence and direct you know
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kind of illegal transfers of money you know you mean the code resurrected where we disagreed with where the founder the koch brothers are making a huge investment in this election and they want to return on their investment don't you think. well listen here's what here's what i'm saying what i'm saying is that fundamentally the when the founder set up the constitution they talked about congress being the voice of the people and right now congress even before citizens united but it's especially today after citizens united is no longer the voice of the people it's the voice of the funders and we've got to figure out how do we get back and how do we create a congress that's not just representing the one percent and in the case of super pacs the tiny portion literally one hundred ninety six people fund eighty percent of the super pacs in this country and this smaller fraction of that about twenty six people take up fifty percent of sort of congress the division to super power i
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read there is no right now not it's not representative of all of the american people of the electorate you're right you're right it's not and we've got to work to change it ok lynn where do you came in on that i mean how can we avoid that because it seems to me that with so much money will these billionaires my ten dollars won't make any difference at all ok and politicians probably won't even be interested in money and don't flow so they. well the main thrust of the occupy movement was that money was corrupting and was ruining this country. but the problem with the occupy movement was that they announced before hand of going to occupy wall street and they got nowhere close to doing that because the you know they organized online and hundreds of cops showed up before you know they could surround the new york stock exchange so they end up occupying a pocket nearby and that became a model nationwide so we had hundreds of occupy parks but that's not going to change the system and the more people who join the occupy movement the agenda is.
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the bigger the agenda so they got to be too confusing so it fizzle out and you know so but i think basically the occupy movement came out of the frustration with the system as it is and the disenchantment with the both the democratic party and republican party so in a sense the you know the sentiment was correct and just just that they could not show the energy correctly already the media that hears me. and i want to give you the last word what is the single most important change reform you would like to see electoral process in the u.s. i think the single we got to get money out it we got to get money out of politics we've got to we've got to return democracy to the people as opposed to the funders i think you know my organization of both progressive dot org we organize folks to contribute money you know small dollar three dollar five dollar contributions to politicians and that is making a difference ok then it was always a nice idea when there were notes are finally getting ten thousand maybe thanks today to my guest in richmond philadelphia and in charlottesville and thanks to our viewers for watching us here on r t c next time remember crosstalk rules.
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