the US election has very little to do with most on this board...and ii know Oliver already touched on this subject...but i thought this was a great lil rant and worth sharing:
http://question-everything.mahost.org/Elections Are A Scam
As in every election we’re now being bombarded with propaganda about how “your vote makes a difference” and associated nonsense. According to the official version ordinary citizens control the state by voting for candidates in elections. The President and other politicians are supposedly servants of “the people” and the government an instrument of the general populace. This version is a myth. It does not matter who is elected because the way the system is set up all elected representatives must do what big business and the state bureaucracy want, not what “the people” want. Elected representatives are figureheads. Politicians’ rhetoric may change depending on who is elected, but they all have to implement the same policies given the same situation. Elections are a scam whose function is to create the illusion that “the people” control the government, not the elite, and to neutralize resistance movements. All voting does is strengthen the state & ruling class, it is not an effective means to change government policy.
If a party wins the elections but implements policies that go against the interests of big business then profits will go down and businesses & investors will withdraw their investments. This capital flight will cause the economy to crash. If the ruling party does not change its policies to appease big business then they'll lose the next elections due to the bad economy. In practice most parties change their policies to appease the corporate elite in order to avoid losing power.
This is not merely theoretical, it has happened repeatedly. It happened in India a few months ago. The left, lead by the Congress party, won the elections, leading to a coalition government with the Congress party and the Communist party. This caused the stock market to crash because investors feared a change in economic policy that would hurt their profits. Sonia Ghandi, who was originally going to be the next Prime Minister, chose not to take the position and the new government was forced to adopt policies virtually identical to the previous government. Their rhetoric is different, but policy is basically the same.
Usually the mere threat of capital flight is enough to keep potentially recalcitrant politicians in line (although most politicians never even consider policies that conflict with the corporate elite/state bureaucracy). For example, Bill Clinton won election on a mildly liberal reformist platform. Once in office he was forced to abandon his campaign promises because if he continued them the bond market wouldn’t react well and the economy would go down the tubes. Clinton’s famous statement to his advisers upon realizing this was, "You mean to tell me that the success of my program and my reelection hinges on the Federal Reserve and a bunch of fucking bond traders?" He was thus forced to abandon his program before it even started, instead implementing one virtually identical to Republican proposals. He complained to his aides:
“I hope you're all aware we're all Eisenhower Republicans. We're Eisenhower Republicans here, and we are fighting the Reagan Republicans. We stand for lower deficits and free trade and the bond market. Isn't that great?”
In theory the government might be able to combat this by nationalizing industry but neither the Democrats nor Republicans (or most prominent third parties) are willing to do this. Even if they were, the Supreme Court would strike it down. If some way were found to get around this then the CIA and/or Pentagon would overthrow the government in a coup (or through less dramatic means). The CIA has overthrown many governments for nationalizing industry, or even just implementing policies not sufficiently favorable to US corporations, including Chile, Iran, Guatemala, Brazil, Greece, the Congo and many others. Doing the same on their home turf would be a piece of cake.
Once elected representatives are isolated from the general public but surrounded by bureaucrats and other politicians. They therefore have a tendency to see things from the perspective of politicians and bureaucrats, rather than from the perspective of the general public from which they are isolated, and are much more susceptible to pressure from government bureaucracies.
Elected representatives’ dependency on the state bureaucracy for information makes them very susceptible to manipulation by the bureaucracies they are officially in charge of. For example, in the late ‘50s the CIA secured approval to launch an uprising in Indonesia by feeding a series of increasingly alarmist reports to their superiors in the National Security Council, who otherwise might have shot the proposed uprising down. This shows how government agencies (especially secretive ones) can pressure politicians and influence policy in preferred directions. This is enhanced by the fact that individual politicians come and go but the bureaucrats are permanent, which makes it easier for bureaucrats to manipulate information and ensures that politicians have less experience with such manipulation. Because the state bureaucracy is permanent while politicians are transitory state bureaucracies tend to accrue more power than elected representatives.
State bureaucracies can also manipulate the political process by leaking damaging information about politicians they don’t like or by harassing parties or movements they don’t like (such as COINTELPRO or the recent harassment of anti-war activists by the FBI). This gives an advantage to politicians favorable to the interests of the state bureaucracy.
State bureaucracies, especially the military and intelligence services, have a considerable degree of autonomy from elected representatives and so aren’t truly controlled by those representatives. When New Zealand intelligence began secretly participating in Echelon, an international electronic spying system, New Zealand’s Prime Minister didn’t even know about it. Most of the CIA’s covert actions (including coups) were done without Congressional approval and some, like CIA participation in Ghana’s 1966 coup, didn’t even have Presidential approval. Entire wars have been fought in secret, including Russia 1918-1920, Laos 1965-1973 and Cambodia 1970-1975. When Congress cut off funding for the Contras (US-backed terrorists in Nicaragua) in the mid-80s the CIA (and other parts of the state bureaucracy) just kept doing it in secret, disregarding Congress’s wishes...
All of this puts many state bureaucracies (especially the military and intelligence services) beyond effective control of elected representatives, let alone the general public. Their secrecy, manipulation of budgets and complexity (there are too many bureaucrats for representatives to effectively keep track of them all) gives government bureaucracies a considerable degree of autonomy. They go off and do whatever they want, either keeping things secret from elected politicians or pressuring them into going along with it.
What a politician says to win an election and what he actually does in office are two very different things; politicians regularly break their promises. This is not just a fluke but the outcome of the way the system is set up. Bush the second said he wouldn’t engage in “nation-building” (taking other countries over) during the 2000 election campaign but has done it several times. He also claimed to support a balanced budget, but obviously abandoned that. Clinton advocated universal health care during the 1992 election campaign but there were more people without health insurance when he left office than when he took office. Bush the first said, “read my lips - no new taxes!” while running for office but raised taxes anyway. Reagan promised to shrink government but he drastically expanded the military-industrial complex and ran up huge deficits. Rather than shrinking government, he reoriented it to make it more favorable to the rich.
Carter promised to make human rights the “soul of our foreign policy” but funded genocide in East Timor and backed brutal dictators in Argentina, South Korea, Chile, Brazil, Indonesia and elsewhere. During the 1964 elections leftists were encouraged by Democrats to vote for Johnson because Goldwater, his Republican opponent, was a fanatical warmonger who would escalate US involvement in Vietnam. Johnson won, and immediately proceeded to escalate US involvement in Vietnam. FDR promised to maintain a balanced budget and restrain government spending but did the exact opposite. Wilson won reelection in 1916 on the slogan “he kept us out of war” but then lied us into World War One. Hoover pledged to abolish poverty in 1928 but instead saw it skyrocket.
... Who wins the election makes no difference (with rare exceptions) because all politicians must do what the elite want. Elections are a scam whose function is to neutralize resistance movements and dupe ordinary citizens into thinking they control the state.