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Between The Lines Archive
For The Week Ending Nov. 24, 2000


LISTEN to this week's half-hour program of Between The Lines by clicking here or any of the individual interview segments below (All in RealAudio, needs RealPlayer 7 or 8.)

This week we present Between The Lines' summary of under-reported news stories and:

Ralph Nader Views His Presidential Campaign as a Success for Building New Progressive Party
Interview by Scott Harris.

In the closing weeks of the election campaign, pundits on TV and in print were paying close attention to Ralph Nader's drive for the presidency as it became clear that his supporters would likely determine the next occupant of the White House. During the final six weeks of the campaign "super rallies" were organized in half a dozen cities around the nation that attracted tens of thousands to hear the Green Party candidate rail against the two major parties and their corporate "paymasters."

But as election day approached, the Gore campaign succeeded in scaring many Nader supporters with the prospect of a Bush presidency, with many ultimately switching their votes at the 11th hour in the traditionally Democratic key battleground states. In the end, the Green Party's goal of winning five percent of the vote they needed to receive $7 million dollars in federal matching funds fell short. During this surprising campaign, Nader and the Green Party did, however, attract enthusiastic support among students, environmentalists and union members -- achieving unprecedented attention to progressive views on issues effectively ignored by both major political parties.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Ralph Nader, who assesses his run for the White House and looks ahead to his role with the Green Party in the post-election period.

The Green Party can be contacted at (202) 265-4000 or visit their Web site at

Related interview Ralph Nader's speech at Yale University, the day after he was prevented from attending presidential debates in Boston
Nader Speech Part 1 (about 40 minutes)
Nader Speech Part 2 (about 40 minutes)

Law Professor Calls Electoral College a Relic of Slave Era
Interview by Scott Harris.

The amazing closeness of the U.S. presidential race drew the attention of the world and the financial markets as the outcome was delayed for more than a week. As ballots were counted and re-counted, the Gore and Bush campaigns sent armies of lawyers to Florida to wrestle over that state's 25 electoral votes, essential to either candidate's final victory. Although Vice President Al Gore was more than 200,000 votes ahead in the national popular vote count, many American citizens were unaware that the Electoral College, not the voters, actually selects the president.

The architects of the U.S. Constitution instituted the Electoral College system as a brake on the popular will and to prevent voters in each state from electing their own "favorite son" candidates. The founding fathers' concern that voters in each state would naturally choose their own politicians for the presidency grew out of the reality that information about candidates from distant states was non-existent or extremely difficult to obtain in that era. The institution of slavery was another factor in establishing the electoral college system.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with Jamin Raskin, professor of law at American University, who examines the origins of the electoral college and the opportunities that may now exist to reform the U.S. political system.

Related article: New York Times Op-Ed, "The Electoral College, Unfair From Day One," by Yale law professor, Akhil Reed Amar, Nov. 9, 2000. The editorial mentions how the Electoral College was intended to give equal power between the free and slave states, as well as those states which would enfranchise women with the right to vote and states which would not.

Electoral Crisis May Be An Opportunity to Challenge Political Status Quo
Interview by Scott Harris

With tongue in cheek, Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe offered to send representatives to Florida to observe and provide assistance in resolving the confusing end game of the 2000 presidential election. The United States, long the self-proclaimed beacon of democracy the world over, now finds itself in the midst of an extraordinarily close election where Democrats and Republicans were engaged in a blatantly partisan legal brawl to determine a winner.

Until the Nov. 7, election most Americans saw their nation as a model of democratic ideals where one-person-one vote was valued above all else. But with votes tainted by defective paper ballots, allegations of deliberate disenfranchisement and an archaic Electoral College that supersedes the sanctity of the collective will of the people, citizens are beginning to question the perceived superiority of the system.

Between The Lines' Scott Harris spoke with William Greider, The Nation Magazine's national affairs correspondent and author of the widely acclaimed book "Who Will Tell The People: The Betrayal of American Democracy." Greider considers how our nation could benefit from the public's current focus on the flaws in our system -- to reform it -- and mobilize citizens to challenge the major party political orthodoxy.

William Greider is national affairs correspondent with the Nation Magazine. Read his columns on the Web at

This week's summary of under-reported news
Compiled by Bob Nixon

  • Amnesty International charges Israeli Army with violating rights of Palestinian prisoners. (Financial Times: Nov. 11, 2000)
  • Eight years after the end of a brutal civil war, U.S. troops are going back into jungles of El Salvador.(In These Times: Nov. 27, 2000)
  • Lasting damage resulting from global warming is seen along Australia's 1,200-mile Great Barrier Reef. (E Magazine: September/October, 2000)

... MORE ...

From the Between The Lines/WPKN Radio Election Issue Forum Archives:

Growing Economic Inequality, The Failed Drug War & Prison Industrial Complex

Progressives Debate: Will Nader's Candidacy Shock the System Leftward or Revive Reagan-Era Politics?

Issues the Major Parties Agree on and Therefore Refuse to Debate


"CEO/Worker Pay Gap: The Neglected Campaign Issue"

"Divided Decade: Economic Disparity at the Century's Turn"

The Sentencing Project reports on racial disparity in the prison industrial complex.


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