LWV League of Women Voters of California
Contra Costa, Solano County, CA November 7, 2000 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for Martin Sproul

Candidate for
United States Representative; District 7

This information is provided by the candidate

"Sproul is an excellent representative to give a voice to a third party. He's articulate with interesting ideas." ---The Editors, The Contra Costa Times, 10/25/00

In the race for the 7th District seat in the U.S. Congress, the way to make your vote count is to vote for Martin Sproul, the third party choice. A vote for either wing of the two party duopoly--for the Republocrat or the Democan--is a vote that says, "I like the current, non-competitive electoral system that shuts out new ideas." If that's the message you want to send, why show up at the polls? In one-sided races, votes for the major party candidates are rubber stamps lending a veneer of democratic legitimacy to outcomes virtually predetermined by undemocratic means.

I strongly encourage all unenthusiastic voters and habitual non-voters and out there--and you are by far the majority--to show up at the polls and create an earthquake of sufficient magnitude to get the duopoly's attention. Don't be deterred by the old saw that "a vote for a third party is a wasted vote." A vote for the winning side of a lopsided race is the true meaningless vote. Nor does a Republican vote in this one-sided race send the needed message. Although Republicans in the 7th district are effectively an unrepresented minority, their party is willing to abandon them in the to preserve its ability to gerrymander other districts in its favor.

This situation, where one half or more of the electorate have little or no voice in politics, will continue so long as citizens do not demand fundamental election reform. Such reform should include instant runoff voting, proportional representation, true (not phony) campaign finance reform with greater public financing of campaigns, fair access to media and debates for all duly qualified candidates, and removal of discriminatory ballot access laws. Without comprehensive change that includes the above reforms--all of which have been implemented in several democracies--our nation will continue to be among the least democratic of advanced democracies in the world. The duopoly will resist these monopoly-busting reforms; only votes for third parties will make them happen.

Reform is needed, for the current trends are dismal. Throughout America, democracy is in trouble. The nation has abysmally low rates of voter participation. About half of the citizenry sits out elections. Voter turnout is particularly low among students, minorities and the poor. Across the nation, those that do go to the voting booths this November 7th will find few real choices on their ballots. Consider U.S. House of Representative races: the independent Cook Political Report surveyed the contests in this election and concluded that of the 435 House seats up for election, there are only 47 seats where there is a "true race" between opponents. Of those, the race for all but 14 is not even close. That's 14 real choices out of 435!

People feel, with great justification, that money speaks so loudly in politics that it drowns out any statement that they can make with their individual votes. However, political power still does reside in we the people: all we have to do to change this state of affairs overnight is vote, and vote consistently for candidates who on principle do not let themselves be bought by special interest money. I have run my race without PAC money and without any special interest money. If people decide their vote based on expensive TV ads and political junk mail, I will be a long shot to win. But those prone to dismiss a candidacy such as mine should consider this: to mount a strong challenge to an incumbent as entrenched as Miller by conventional methods, a challenger would have to raise so much money that there is no way he or she could avoid going deeply in hock to contributors, whose expectations of favors in return would undermine all promises of reform and change. If we really want better government, we have to ask for something better than the best legislator that money can buy. As voters, we can start this November 7th by voting for candidates that stand on principle and abstain from the current system of legalized bribery. Be skeptical of any candidate who can afford to interrupt your television programs and burden you mailbox.

My friends and fellow citizens, there are many proven, cost-effective, practical solutions to our nation's problems that are not being implemented because no special interest stands to benefit from the solutions, or because too many special interests have a vested interest in making money off of the continued existence of the problems. You can learn about some of the good but neglected solutions and programs at <www.natural-law.org>. If you will elect me, I will work to implement whatever programs are proven to work to solve the problems of the nation. As we eliminate costly problems, improve heath and create peace and prosperity, we can lower taxes and enjoy peace dividends.

However, whether or not I am elected, your vote for me will send a message that the ideas and programs I stand for ought to be considered and adopted. If Congressman Miller is a wise and thoughtful representative, he will pay attention and take these initiatives. In any event, a vote for Martin Sproul is the best way to let the world know specifically what more you want from your representative whomever that turns out to be.

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ca/state Created from information supplied by the candidate: November 6, 2000 18:36
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