Why isn’t Stephen Colbert on the SC ballot?

According to CNN, Sen. Barack Obama didn’t want him on the ballot.

The Democrats are being shown up by Colbert’s short-lived presidential candidacy. A recent Colbert Report episode features recent corporate news coverage of his campaign and one of the clips shows Colbert polling ahead of a few Democrats. I doubt the Democrats like exposing how managed the elections really are. If anyone is going to take out some of the Democratic Party candidates, it’s going to be the Democrat elite.

It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Obama’s people pressured the SC Democrats to keep Colbert off the ballot. Obama could easily believe that the high school/college student audience would vote for Obama, given no other choice on the South Carolina Democratic Party primary ballot. So by working to keep Colbert off that ballot, Obama has one less competitor. I believe that Colbert viewers are would-be voters, that they went in with two choices in their head–vote for Colbert or don’t vote at all. Hence, Obama can’t lose voters he never had.

The SC Democrats told Colbert he wasn’t a serious candidate. In other words, he wasn’t viable. If he had spent more time campaigning in SC, maybe the Democrats would allow his name on the Democratic primary ballot. Even Colbert briefly stepped slightly out of character to debunk this one when he interviewed a guest noting that this is how we choose a president?

We’ve heard that line about viability before. It’s the way the Democratic Party faithful describe candidates that aren’t pro-corporate enough or pro-war enough (but I repeat myself). Every 4 years Ralph Nader is insufficiently viable. The particulars of the defense depend on the year. In 2000 and 2008 (if Nader runs again) Nader’s widely-held ideology isn’t enough to engage the electorate to risk not voting out of fear. In 2004 we got that excuse plus the bigger-fish-to-fry excuse: we’re in such a pickle (due to our fear-based voting the previous election cycle) that we need to focus on getting the current president out of office. In 2004 this meant replacing one corporate-funded, pro-war, Skull-and-Bonesman with another. Usually someone will bring up that not voting for the winner means wasting a vote, but nobody states the corollary: millions who voted for Sen. Kerry wasted their vote because Kerry did not become president. And where’s the anger at voting shenanigans? Where’s the huge effort to demand voter-verifiable paper ballots which are retained for any and all recounts, and are hand-counted no matter the delay until results are known?

Don’t worry about voting your values instead of voting your fears: in 4 years the issues will be more serious than they are now because there will be more poverty, more disasters with insufficient relief, and more wars killing your neighbors kids. So better to ignore those who tell you the US can’t afford your-favorite-candidate.

Rebecca Traister’s article “Stop lying to yourself. You love Dennis Kucinich” asks how Rep. Kucinich (D-OH) can be called not viable despite being everyone’s choice in a host of online issues-based quizzes. The gist of the article is believable even if all the evidence isn’t (for instance, “OK, sure, his reign as mayor of Cleveland was a mess. He has never passed a piece of legislation.” posits an undefended argument and there’s no mention of Cleveland’s regret at losing their municipal power facility which Kucinich defended when it was unpopular). Traister says American voters can be (and repeatedly are) pushed into voting against their values. When measured by the issues, virtually everyone agrees with Rep. Kucinich. Yet few voters have the guts to vote for him.

I see that in Illinois in the Democratic Party primary. The Illinois Democratic Party primary comes so late that voters have no mathematical chance of altering the party’s nominee. Illinois residents have been so thoroughly scared away from voting their values that they usually support the candidate who has locked up the race for the nominee. This rigged system gives Illinois voters their one chance to send a message and Illinois Democratic Party primary voters mostly throw their vote away.

This nominee was largely set before us by the corporate media and the Democratic Party. Pundits ask silly questions like ‘Will Obama show his claws against Clinton?’ when neither Obama nor Clinton are interesting candidates. Both are pro-war corporate sympathizers with virtually nothing to separate their candidacies. The horse race coverage only covers who has more money.

The political Left in the US is apparently so weak that they’ll vote for people with whom they “strongly disagree” (see the 2004 Vote2StopBush.org list of luminaries for your favorite intellectual) cycle after cycle.

2 thoughts on “Why isn’t Stephen Colbert on the SC ballot?

  1. Pingback: Why isn’t Stephen Colbert on the SC ballot? | Political news - democrats republicans socialists greens liberals conservatives

  2. I would add Ron Paul to your list of candidates who are being treated by the mainstream media as a non-entity. Ron Paul has accumulated a substantial amount of financial support as a result of winning or placing very well in a number of straw poll votes for the past 6 months including a recent Zogby poll. Yet the Sunday morning shows & various popular political radio shows analyze the election without mentioning his name once. Very odd, I say.

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